Harry Martinson Leif SjöBerg - Essay

Harry Edmund Martinson

Leif SjöBerg

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)


Hardly ever has a Swedish author led a life more fantastic than that of Harry Martinson; in Swedish literature no exoticism is more captivating than that in his autobiographical books and travelogues; and the tender devotion to Swedish nature expressed in his naturprosa is unsurpassed—which is apparent in such works as Svärmare och harkrank (1937), Midsommardalen (1938), and Det enkla och det svåra (1939)…. In later writings such as Utsikt från en grästuva (View from a Tussock, 1963), the author has still managed to retain the larger, even cosmic, perspectives. (p. 364)

After his autobiographical books Martinson broadened his view of people on earth and became a humanist (in the traditional old European sense) and a scholar. There were ups and downs (especially Verklighet till döds, about the war in Finland, "a subject that was too close") and Den förlorade jaguaren which satirized the hyper-efficiency of contemporary times, his first real novel ("written in too great haste"). But if there is a common denominator in his many-faceted work, it is his belief that everything is interrelated, which is "why one can feel secure in it."… (p. 365)

Martinson the humanist did not neglect the study of the natural sciences. In the essay "Tekniken och själen" ("Technology and the Soul," published in Daedalus, 1955), he admits...

(The entire section is 465 words.)