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Harry Martinson (1904–1978)

Author of Aniara

78+ Works 1,403 Members 33 Reviews 8 Favorited

About the Author

Harry Martinson was born in Jämshög, Sweden on May 6, 1904. When he was six his father died and then his mother immigrated to America, leaving him and his sisters as parish orphans, fostered out to various families. He ran away from his foster parents and went to sea from 1920 to 1927. After show more returning to Sweden, ill with tuberculosis and destitute, he came under the care of his future wife, Moa Swartz, who became a well-known author in her own right. His first book of poetry, Spökskepp (Ghost Ship), was published in 1929. He also wrote a collection of poetry entitled Passad (Trade Wind) and an epic poem about space travel entitled Aniara. His novels include Nässlorna Blomma (Flowering Nettle), Vägen Ut (The Way Out), Kap Farväl (Cape Farewell), and Vägen till Klockrike (The Road). He was elected to the Swedish Academy in 1949, a notable achievement for a writer with no formal education. He shared the 1974 Nobel Prize for Literature with novelist Eyvind Johnson. Their honors were considered controversial, since they were close friends and both had been long-time members of the Swedish Academy. He was offended by the insinuation of corruption and withdrew into depression. He committed suicide on February 11, 1978. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

(yid) VIAF:14773510

Works by Harry Martinson

Aniara (1956) — Author — 456 copies
Nässlorna blomma (1935) 195 copies
The Road (1948) 182 copies
Vägen ut (1936) 50 copies
Kap Farväl! (1934) 39 copies
Dikter (1974) 29 copies
Resor utan mål (1943) 19 copies
Passad (1945) 17 copies
Svärmare och harkrank (1937) 16 copies
Wild Bouquet: Nature Poems (1974) 14 copies
Vagnen : [dikter] (2016) 13 copies
Den förlorade jaguaren (1941) 13 copies
The Procession of Memories (2009) 11 copies
Cikada : dikter (2016) 9 copies
Tuvor : [dikter] (1973) 8 copies
Aniara [2018 movie] (2018) — Author — 8 copies
Dikter : 1958-1973 (1974) 7 copies
ANTOLOGIA POETICA (1901) 5 copies
Ur de tusen dikternas bok (1986) 5 copies
Dramatik (1999) 5 copies
Naturessäer (2000) 4 copies
Dikter 1953-73 (1998) 4 copies
Jordenruntresan (2003) 3 copies
Natur 3 copies
Verklighet till döds (1990) 3 copies
Dikter 1929-1945 (1997) 3 copies
Strandgeruis (2006) 2 copies
Kring Aniara (1989) 2 copies
Nomad 2 copies
Vishetens ord i öster (1977) 2 copies
Mellan pelarna (1983) 2 copies
Kåserier på allvar (1984) 2 copies
Elin Wägner 2 copies
Aniara (2020) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology (1992) — Contributor — 393 copies
Friends, You Drank Some Darkness (1975) — Contributor — 47 copies
Meesters der Zweedse vertelkunst — Author, some editions — 10 copies
Stella Polaris : fantastiske fortellinger fra Norden (1982) — Contributor — 6 copies
Ice Floe : New and Selected Poems (2010) — Contributor — 4 copies
Det nappar! Det nappar! : en antologi (2006) — Contributor — 3 copies
Antaeus No. 15, Autumn 1974 - Special Translation Issue (1974) — Contributor — 2 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Martinson, Harry
Legal name
Martinson, Harry Edmund
Date of death
Burial location
Silverdals griftegård, Sollentuna
Jämshög, Sweden
Place of death
Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of death
merchant seaman
Martinson, Moa (wife)
Swedish Academy (1949)
Awards and honors
Nobel Prize (Literature, 1974)
Disambiguation notice



DNF somewhere in the outer solar system.

I'm sure it's better in the original, but this translation of the epic Swedish science fiction poem left me colder than the interstellar vacuum. Not a patch on the 2018 film adaptation.
yarb | 13 other reviews | Jan 4, 2024 |
Nässlorna blomma är en roman från 1935 av den svenske författaren Harry Martinson. Nässlorna blomma, och fortsättningen Vägen ut, är delvis självbiografiska och skildrar en föräldralös pojkes osäkra tillvaro i fattigsverige.
CalleFriden | 4 other reviews | Feb 6, 2023 |
Martinson's big picaresque novel of vagrant life follows the adventures of Bolle, a skilled worker — a cigar-maker — who loses his job to mechanisation in the 1890s, and goes on the road as a vagrant after he is unable to raise the fare to America. It's not so much a straight narrative as a collage of incidents and themes in vagrant life — obviously based to some extent on Martinson's own experiences as a vagrant the 1920s, but set back into the years before the First World War.

Martinson uses Bolle's experiences particularly to reflect on the fear and hostility people without a fixed home inspire in those who have one, and the way this affects the character and behaviour of homeless people. But he also has time to talk about the arbitrary injustices of the social care system and the criminalisation of vagrancy, about the joy of travelling on foot through the Swedish landscape and the way that style of vagrancy is becoming a thing of the past with the advent of trains and cars, about pleasant and unpleasant encounters with country people in different parts of Sweden and Norway, and a thousand other things. Through dream-sequences and a kind of magic realist finale in a brickworks he also (half-ironically) sets out what might be an existentialist philosophy (or an anti-religion) providing an intellectual framework for vagrancy.

A big, warm, compassionate book, and a very strongly-felt one, but also a firmly realistic view of the world and its troubles: not the place to go if you want the romance of the road.


Zeit der Unruhe is a publisher-specific selection of German translations of ten of Eyvind Johnson's short stories originally published between the 1920s and the 1940s, in several different Swedish collections.

The title-story, originally "En tid av oro för Eugenia" (in Än en gång, kapten!, 1934), is a lovely piece about a woman who has a slightly too colourful past for a small town, but is now trying to settle down, running a haberdashery shop and engaged to marry the house-painter and (almost) reformed drinker, Göransson. The town unsuccessfully tries to needle them both about her former boyfriends, but then the news comes through that Emil is coming back from America, presumably having made his fortune...

"Burell tappar kraftarna" and "Vallberg" are both stories about showmen trying to make a living in rural backwaters as progress — and younger competitors — catch up with them, the former featuring a young projectionist who must be a self-portrait. Then there are a couple of stories set in a remote railway-hamlet in the North, and a set of more reflective pieces dealing with social and technological change in 20th century Sweden, culminating in "I det Overkliga", a touching little sketch where the narrator and a friendly farmer go on a fishing trip to some mountain lakes, whilst discussing how we can deal with the contradiction of being out enjoying ourselves in beautiful scenery whilst knowing that elsewhere in Europe bombs are falling on civilians.

Probably not enough to get a full picture of what Johnson is about, but certainly enough to see that he must be a very interesting writer, with an unusual perspective on life.
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thorold | 5 other reviews | Jan 25, 2023 |
Ez a könyv csapongó, mint a pillangó röpte, helyenként ráérősen elmélázik, aztán hosszú kitérőket tesz, majd beleragad egy anekdotába. (Így belegondolva egész szerkezete remekül modellezi a csavargó-létet.) Regény nem tud lenni, inkább csak történetek laza füzére – de pont ez a füzér-forma teszi lehetővé, hogy a csavargóregények bibliája legyen. Meggyőződésem, hogy ez is a cél: vannak benne ugyanis klasszikus (Jézusian homályos) példázatok, amiken el lehet merengeni, hegyibeszédek, törvények, megemlítődnek a csavargóvilág szentjei és mártírjai, és még Mennyország is van: Klockrike, az elérhetetlen falu, ahová minden csavargó vágyódik. Sőt: még feltámadás is lesz! Martinson tulajdonképpen megalkotja Szent Csavargó ideáját, akinek a vándorlás nem kényszer, hanem autonóm választás. Ő az, aki a XX. század hajnalán még bőszen tapodta a svéd vadregényt, de aztán jött az iparosodás, és jöttek a második generációs csavargók: a munkanélküliek tömegei, akik már nem a vándorlásért magáért, hanem a nyomor miatt róják az utakat – így aztán a Szent Csavargó kiveszett, akár az erszényes farkas. Legfeljebb egy-két könyvben találni belőlük eleven példányt. Például ebben itt, ni.

Határozottan megkapó olvasmány volt.
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Kuszma | 5 other reviews | Jul 2, 2022 |



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