Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Lagerkvist, Pär

(1891-1974) Swedish poet, dramatist and writer, active from circa 1914, winner of the 1951 Nobel Literature Prize. His early work, especially his plays, employs a variety of expressionistic techniques to argue issues of high seriousness, as shaped by Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough (1890-1915), though sometimes bald in the utterance. Det eviga leendet (1920; trans anon as The Eternal Smile 1932 chap UK) is a Supernatural Fiction; it is assembled, along with Gäst hos verkligheten ["A Guest in the Actual World"] (1925), as Guest of Reality (coll trans E Mesterton and D W Harding 1936 UK; rev vt The Eternal Smile and Other Stories 1971 UK; vt The Eternal Smile: Three Stories 1971 US). The Dwarf in Dvärgen (1944; trans A Dick as The Dwarf 1945 US) becomes no more than a Shadow – a mocking Parody – of his master the Prince; but the plot hovers this side of the supernatural. Barabbas (1950; trans Alan Blair 1952 US) similarly invokes, but does not enter, worlds beyond the mundane. The Wandering Jew features in Sibyllan (1956; trans N Walford as The Sybil 1958 UK) and Ahasverus' dod (1960; trans Walford as The Death of Ahasuerus 1962 UK), being allowed to die in the second volume as reward for abandoning his obsessive religious concerns. Other tales of interest include Pilgrim på havet (1962; trans Walford as Pilgrim at Sea 1964 UK), Det heliga landet (1964; trans Walford as The Holy Land 1966 UK) and Mariamne (1967; trans N Walford as Herod and Mariamne 1968 US; under orig title 1968 UK). [JC]

Pär Lagerkvist


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.