Lars Gustafsson

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Lars Gustafsson (2015)

Lars Gustafsson (born May 17, 1936 in Västerås ; † April 3, 2016 ) was a Swedish writer and philosopher.


Gustafsson (2012)

Lars Gustafsson studied literature , philosophy and sociology at the universities of Uppsala / Sweden and Oxford . Since the 1960s he has appeared as a poet , philosopher and novelist. In addition to his literary work, he was editor-in-chief of the renowned literary magazine Bonniers Litterära Magasin from 1962 to 1972 . He soon made international contacts, including in the world of literature, e. B. to the German community of authors Group 47 .

With a DAAD scholarship for a one-year work stay in West Berlin , he came to Germany in 1972, where he lived for two years. During this time, I traveled extensively. a. to Australia, Singapore, Tokyo, Israel and the USA. In 1961 he received his doctorate in theoretical philosophy . After the publication of his academic work Language and Lies , an examination of the language philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche , Alexander Bryan Johnson and Fritz Mauthner , he completed his habilitation in 1979 . In 1981 Gustafsson, who married the Jew Alexandra Chasnoff in 1982, converted to Judaism . He justified this step with private motives and his respect for Jewish philosophers such as Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas . From 1983 to 2006 he was Professor of German Studies and Philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin / Texas . Since May 2006 he lived in Södermalm , Stockholm ; he regularly spent the summer months in Västmanland.

In 2009 he made headlines on the occasion of the 2009 European elections when he officially supported the Swedish Pirate Party with an election call . The author said:

“Ultimately, it is about the citizens' right to information. That is more important than copyright. "

- Lars Gustafsson

On August 25, 2010 Gustafsson left the Swedish Pirate Party in protest against the cooperation with the WikiLeaks portal , which he accused of providing death lists for the Taliban .

One of his numerous stays in Germany was in connection with the Tübingen poetics lectureship , in which Gustafsson participated as a lecturer in 2005. His lectures are published under the title Moment and Poem .

With the award of the Goethe Medal in 2009, Gustafsson was honored for his extensive literary work and the strong connection to Germany contained therein. In its justification, the Goethe-Institut emphasized that the author had "shaped the German image of Sweden beyond the great children's book tradition and popular Swedish crime fiction since the 1970s." Especially in his pentalogy Cracks in the Wall, he sends the reader on a journey through time 1960s and 1970s Sweden, which follows precisely and critically the change in the social value system.

Lars Gustafsson was a member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz , the Academy of Arts in Berlin, the German Academy for Language and Poetry in Darmstadt and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.

He was married to the poet Madeleine Gustafsson from 1962 to 1982 ; the marriage resulted in two children. He also had two children with his second wife, Alexandra Chasnoff. In September 2005 he married the teacher Agneta Blomqvist, who is the co-author of several books by Lars Gustafsson.

Artistic creation

When signing, 2009

In 1957 he made his literary debut with the novel Vägvila (road rest), which is a mixture of prose and poetry. His first volume of poetry, Ballongfararna (The Balloonists) , appeared in 1962.

The novel series Risse in der Mauer is about the late 1960s and early 1970s. The volume includes the autobiography Mr. Gustafsson himself (1972), the youth drama Wollsachen (1974) and family reunions (1976), Sigismund (1977) and Death of a Beekeeper (1978). In 2003, the novel Wollsachen was filmed in Sweden under the title Sprickorna i muren (Cracks in the Wall).

The short novel Afternoon of a Tiler ( En kakelsättares eftermiddag, 1991) is more of a philosophical parable about the meaning and futility of life, the secrets of which could never really be deciphered by humans.

Significantly, the author says of himself: “I tend to see myself as a philosopher who has made literature one of his tools.” Conversely, however, his philosophical work also reflects his literary interests Meaning, dealt with multilingualism and creativity.

In the novel Historien med hunden (German 1994 The thing with the dog ) published in 1993, the author processed the posthumously uncovered articles by the scientist Paul de Man .

In secrets between lovers ( Tjänarinnan. En kärleksroman, 1996) is about a successful man late 50s who is not quite dare the love he for his Colombian feels cleaning lady to express.


Work (selection)

  • Vägvila , Roman, 1957.
  • Poets Bromberg's sista dagar och död , novel, 1959.
  • Bröderna , Roman, 1960.
  • Ballongfararna , poems 1962.
  • En formiddag i Sverige , poems, 1963.
  • En resa till jordens medelpunkt och andra dikter , poems, 1966.
  • Den egentliga berättelsen om Herr Arenander , Roman, 1966. - The actual report on Herr Arenander . German by Gustav Adolf Modersohn, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1969.
  • The machines. Poems . German by Hans Magnus Enzensberger , Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1967. [Selection from Ballongfararna , En formiddag i Sverige and En resa till jordens medelpunkt och andra dikter .]
  • Förberedelser till flykt och andra berättelser , stories, 1967.
  • Bakunin's journey. Thorn . German by Jürg Mahner, Literarisches Colloquium, Berlin 1968. [Stories from the volume Förberedelser till flykt och andra berättelser .]
  • Utopier och andra essäer om dikt och liv , Essays, 1969. - Utopias . German by Hanns Grössel , Carl Hanser Verlag (Edition Hanser), Munich 1970.
  • Kärleksförklaring till en sefardisk dam , poems, 1970.
  • Mr. Gustafsson själv , Roman, 1971. - Mr. Gustafsson personally . German by Verena Reichel , Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1972.
  • Varma rum och kalla , poems, 1972.
  • Yllet , Roman, 1973. - Woolen things. German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1973.
  • An island near Magora. Collected stories and poems . Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1973.
  • Den onödiga samtiden , essay, 1974, together with Jan Myrdal . - The unnecessary present . German by Verena Reichel. Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1975.
  • Världsdelar , travelogues, 1975.
  • Familjefesten , Roman, 1975. - The family reunion . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1976.
  • Sigismund. Ur en polsk barockfurstes minnen , Roman, 1976. - Sigismund. From the memories of a Polish baroque prince , Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1977.
  • Tennisspelarna , Roman, 1977. - The tennis players . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1979.
  • The lilla världen. Om märkvärdigheter utiomanniskorna , prose pieces , 1977.
  • Sonetters , poems, 1977.
  • En biodlares död , Roman, 1978. - The death of a beekeeper . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1978.
  • I microscope. Banaliteter och brottstycken , pieces of prose, 1979.
  • Språk and Lögn. En essä om språkfilosofisk extremism i nittonde århundradet ; Habilitation thesis, 1978. - Language and lies. Three language-philosophical extremists: Friedrich Nietzsche, Alexander Bryan Johnson, Fritz Mauthner . German by Susanne Seul, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1980.
  • Artesiska brunnar, cartesianska drömmar. Tjugotvå lärodikter , poems, 1980.
  • Berättelser om lyckliga Nahrungsmittelkor , Stories, 1981. - Stories from happy people . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1981.
  • For liberalisms , polemic, 1981.
  • Världens tystnad före Bach , poems, 1982.
  • The silence of the world before Bach. Poems . German by Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, Hanns Grössel, Anna-Liese Kornitzky and Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1982. [Selection from various volumes of poetry.]
  • A love for the thing . German by Ruprecht Volz, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1983. [Selection from Den Lilla Världen and I mikoskopet .]
  • Sorgemusik för frimurare , Roman, 1983. - Funeral music . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1984.
  • Fåglarna , poems, 1984.
  • Bernard Foys tredje rockad , Roman, 1986. - The third castling of Bernard Foy . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1986.
  • The art of surviving November and other stories . German by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Hanns Grössel, Jürg Mahner and Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1988. [Selection from various volumes of stories.]
  • Fyra poeter , poems, 1988. - Four poets . German by Verena Reichel, Renner Verlag (Edition Petrarca), Munich 1991.
  • Det sällsamma djuret från norr , Science-Fiction, 1988. - The strange beast from the north and other peculiarities . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1989.
  • Förberedelser för vintersäsongen , poems, 1990.
  • En kakelsättares eftermiddag , Roman 1991. - A tiler's afternoon . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1991.
  • Historien med hunden , Roman, 1993. - The thing with the dog . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1994.
  • Ett minnespalats. Vertikala memoarer , Memoirs, 1994. - Palace of Remembrance . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1996.
  • Stenkista , poems, 1994.
  • Tjänarinnan. En kärleksroman , novel, 1996. - Secrets between lovers . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1997.
  • Variationer över ett tema av Silfverstolpe , Gedichte, 1996.
  • Windy berättar , Roman, 1999. - Windy tells . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1999.
  • Blom och den andra magentan , children's book, 2001. - Blom and the second magenta . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2001.
  • En tid i Xanadu , Poems, 2002. - Excerpt from Xanadu . German by Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2003.
  • Deans , Roman, 2003. - The dean . From papers left by Spencer C. Spencer . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2004.
  • Moment and poem. Tuebingen Poetics Lecturer 2005 . Published by Dorothee Kimmich , Swiridoff Verlag, Künzelsau 2006.
  • The amerikanska flickans söndagar. En versberättelse , Verserzählung, 2006. - The Sundays of the American girl . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag (Edition Lyrik-Kabinett ), Munich 2008.
  • Mr. Gustafssons familjebok , together with Agneta Blomqvist, 2006. - Everything you need. A manual for life . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2010.
  • Fru Sorgedahl's vackra vita armar , Roman, 2008. - Mrs. Sorgedahl's beautiful white arms . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2009. ISBN 978-3-446-23273-0 .
  • Mot noll. Matematiska fantasier , 2011. - Towards zero. A math fantasy . German by Barbara M. Karlson, Secession Verlag, Zurich 2011.
  • Mannen på den blå cyklen , novel, 2012. - The man on the blue bike . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2013. ISBN 978-3-446-24335-4 .
  • Elden och döttrarna. Valda och nya dikter , poems, 2012. - The fire and the daughters . German by Barbara M. Karlson, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2014. ISBN 978-3-446-24473-3 .
  • The smile of the midsummer night. Pictures from Sweden , travel book, together with Agneta Blomqvist. German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2013. ISBN 978-3-446-23978-4 .
  • Doctor Water's recept , Roman, 2015. - Doctor Water's recipe . German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2016. ISBN 978-3-446-25051-2 .
  • The optical telegraph , Secession Verlag für Literatur, 2018 ISBN 978-3-9069-1038-3 .
  • Etudes for an old typewriter , poems, German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2019. ISBN 978-3-446-26167-9 .
  • Dr. Weiss' last order , from the Swedish by Verena Reichel, Wallstein, Göttingen 2020. ISBN 978-3-8353-3604-9 .
  • Double life , together with Agneta Blomqvist. German by Verena Reichel, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2020. ISBN 978-3-446-26561-5 .


  • 1977: Lars Gustafsson. A production by Saarland Radio / Television (45 minutes). Script and direction: Klaus Peter Dencker

Secondary literature

Individual evidence

  1. Jens Liljestrand: Författaren Lars Gustafsson död. In: April 3, 2016, accessed March 21, 2020 (Swedish).
  2. Entry on Gustafsson, Lars at the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.
  3. Pure hysteria! In: Der Spiegel . No. 27 , 2009, p. 113 ( online - June 29, 2009 ).
  4. ^ Wikileaks asylum in Sweden: pirate protests. on: Süddeutsche Zeitung Online. August 25, 2010.
  5. Goethe-Institut, press release of June 24, 2009 (PDF; 221 kB)
  6. Literature: Thomas Mann Prize for Lars Gustafsson - FOCUS Online. In: June 30, 2015, accessed March 21, 2020 .

Web links

Commons : Lars Gustafsson  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files