Levertin, Oscar Ivar


Levertin, Oscar Ivar
(1862-1906)
   A Swedish poet, novelist, short story writer, and critic, Levertin had little sympathy with the interest in folk culture that came to the fore in the 1890s; he preferred the city and the Greco-Roman past. His role as a newspaper critic was of great significance to Swedish literature, and his wide reading and highly cultivated taste made him a central figure in Swedish literary life. He started out as a realist with two collections of stories, Smamynt (1883; Small Change) and Konflikter (1985; Conflicts), but a meeting with Verner von Heidenstam had a strong impact on him. Together Heidenstam and Levertin wrote the satirical essay "Pepitas brollop" (1890; Pepita's Wedding), which was published as a pamphlet and argued against the aesthetics of naturalism and in favor of a greater concern with the interior lives of literary characters.
   Levertin's first poetry collection, Lengender och visor (1891; Legends and Songs), is characterized by his concern with the themes of love and death and exemplifies the subjectivism of the 1890s. Other volumes of poetry are Nya dikter (1894; New Poems), Dikter 1901; Poems), Kung Salomo och Morolf(1905; King Solomon and Morolf), and the posthumously published Sista dikter (1907; Last Poems).
   Livets fiender (1891; The Enemies of Life) is a decadent novel that shows influence from the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans (18481907), as well as from the Dane Herman Bang's novel Haabløse Slægter (1880; Generations without Hope), in that the protagonist is a hypersensitive and nervous scion of a noble family in decline. Another brief novel is Magistrarne i Osteras (1900; The Scholars of Osterås). A collection of short stories from the same time period bears the title Rococo-noveller (1899; Rococo Stories).

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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