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Johan Borgen was born into a rich family, and spent his childhood avoiding his family's intended career for him, that of a lawyer. He wrote extensively and took to travel in his 20s, leading to what he termed "My Dark Years," and apparently engaged in significant criminal behavior during that time. Because of his attitude towards authority, and his scandalous and viciously satirical nature, he published much of his work under various pseudonyms. This double-life became the basis for his trilogy Lillelord (Little Lord), which concerns a conscienceless heir who engages in criminal activity while keeping a facade of respectability.
In his own life, Borgen was a child prodigy with little interest in academic work. He preferred to chart his own course, finding and pursuing his own interests while keeping his family happy with high grades in school; later, he wrote subversive articles against the encroaching Nazi rule under a pseudonym. Similarly, Lillelord is his mother's pride and respected in his town, but knows that he is all but schizophrenic in his nature, to the point of committing murder without remorse; Lillelord is also sociopathic, not in a deliberately criminal sense, but instead lacking the moral guidelines that others have. While Borgen did not share those tendencies, they both engaged in deliberate subterfuge to hide their true nature from their family and from public life.
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