Mykle, Agnar


Mykle, Agnar
(1915-1994)
   A Norwegian novelist and short story writer, Mykle is remembered chiefly for testing Norwegian obscenity legislation in the 1950s. His literary debut was the short story collection Taustigen (1948; The Rope Ladder), in which he focused on the conflict between expectations and quotidian reality. The novel Tyven, tyven skal du hete (1951; tr. The Hotel Room, 1963) inveighs against puritanism and defends people's right to sexual freedom. The same concerns animate a book of short stories, Jeg er like glad, sa gutten (1952; I Couldn't Care Less, Said the Boy).
   Mykle's major works are the two novels Lasso rundt fru Luna (1954; tr. Lasso Round the Moon, 1960) and Sangen om den røde rubin (1956; tr. The Song ofthe Red Ruby, 1961), which present the character Ask Burlefot and his various erotic escapades. Set in the towns of Trondheim and Bergen, the two books offer interesting portraits of the respective social environments but are marred by the similarity of many of their characters to models that were easily recognized by Mykle's contemporary audience. Mykle was accused of pornography but was acquitted by Norway's Supreme Court. While in the middle of the trial, Mykle published a collection of old and new short stories, Kors pa halsen (1958; Cross My Heart).
   The protagonist in the novel Rubicon (1965; tr. 1966) is similar to Ask Burlefot, but he is portrayed more humorously. Mykle's focus on sexuality continues in a collection of short stories, Largo (1967). The three volumes of Brev og annen prosa (1997-1999; Letters and Other Prose), selected from thousands ofpages ofmanuscript materials, were edited by Gordon Hølmebakk and published after Mykle's death. Arne B. Mykle edited Kjære lille Moff: Reisebrev fra Amerika (2001; Dear Little Moff: Letters from Travels in America). Several biographies of Mykle were published in the 1990s, and many younger Norwegian writers have found inspiration in his work.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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