Delblanc, Sven


Delblanc, Sven
(1931-1992)
   A Swedish novelist, essayist, playwright, and scriptwriter, Delblanc addressed the question of how to balance the individual's desire for freedom against the need for order in society. He had his literary debut with the novel Eremitkaftan (1962; The Hermit Crab), in which the protagonist leaves a highly structured society in search of freedom, only to return again in search of security. Delblanc's vision of the human quest for liberty is thus one of profound pessimism.
   Prästkappan: En heroisk berättelse (1963; The Cassock: An Heroic Tale) is set in Frederick the Great's Prussia. One of the central characters, Hermann, is an idealist who goes from one defeat to another. His companion Lang-Hans, on the other hand, has a good sense of reality, and reality has a habit of vanquishing a person's ideals. The ideal of free will is also dealt a severe blow in Homunculus: En magisk berättelse (1965; tr. Homunculus: A Magic Tale, 1969), in which an inventor creates a humanlike being in his bathtub. The inventor, Sebastian, has to defend the being against U.S. and Soviet agents, and he becomes increasingly evil as he does so, finally choosing suicide as a means of protecting what remains of his humanity. Nattresa (1967; Night Journey) explores how an artist may combine his individualistic artistic vision with a commitment to socialism.
   Delblanc spent a year as a visiting professor at the University of California in Berkeley during the 1968-1969 academic year. A result of this experience was the diary novel Asnebrygga (1969; Bridge of Asses), which criticizes American society and politics and details the narrator's struggle against a sense of intellectual paralysis. Zahak: Persiska brev (1971; Letters from Persia) is a travelogue, while Trampa vatten (1972; Treading Water), a collection of brief essays, offers a variety of observations.
   The core of Delblanc's oeuvre is two interlinked tetralogies. The first one consists of four historical novels about his hometown, which he has given the fictional name Hedeby. Aminne (1970; River Memory), Stenfagel (1973; Stone Bird), Vinteride (1974; Winter Lair), and Stadsporten (1976; The City Gate) cover the period from 1937 to shortly after World War II and record the transition from an older and more stratified society to an egalitarian one governed by social-democratic values.
   The second series of novels is based on Delblanc's family history. The central characters in Samuels bok (1981; The Book of Samuel), Samuels dottrar (1982; The Daughters of Samuel), Kanaans land (1984; The Land of Canaan), and Maria ensam (1985; Maria Alone) are all modeled on his maternal grandfather and his descendants. There is a strong patriarchal tradition in this family line, and the women suffer as a result. There is also a tendency toward mental illness, but the main protagonist, the writer Axel, finds that his education is a source of mental health for him. Some of the characters in Maria ensam are taken from the Hedeby novels, which it overlaps in time.
   Three other novels focus on the relationship between artists and those who hold power in society. Primavera: En konstnarlig berat-telse (1973; Primavera: An Artistic Tale) is an allegory of the relationship between artist and market, while Kastrater: En romantisk berattelse (1975; tr. The Castrati: A Romantic Tale, 1979) questions whether art is worth the sacrifices made for it. The novel Grottemannen (1977; The Cave Man) shows that art does not necessarily lead to freedom, at least not in a society that is in relentless pursuit of material things. Delblanc's cultural pessimism is further expressed in Speranza: En samtida berattelse (1980; tr. Speranza: A Contemporary Tale, 1983) and Jerusalems natt (1983; Jerusalem's Night); the latter is set during the siege of Jerusalem in the year 70.
   The title of the novel Moria land (1987; The Land of Moriah) alludes to Abraham's binding of Isaac, but the father in Delblanc's book has turned his son over to the authorities in their dystopian future Swedish society. The title character in Ankan (1988; The Widow), by contrast, has acquired a means of regaining her youth and, with it, seemingly unlimited freedom. In the novel Ifigenia: Berattelse i tva upptåg (1990; Iphigenia: A Tale in Two Acts), Delblanc radically reinterprets the reasons for Agamemnon's sacrifice of his daughter and many other facts of classical antiquity, thus suggesting that history is subject to the laws of social constructionism, as it is always written by the victors. Delblanc also wrote a number of scripts for radio and television and several plays, many ofthem adaptations of his novels.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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  • Delblanc, Sven — ▪ Swedish novelist in full  Sven Axel Herman Delblanc   born May 26, 1931, Swan River, Manitoba, Can. died Dec. 15, 1992, Uppsala, Swed.       Swedish novelist who was notable for his use of the intrusive narrator and for the incorporation of… …   Universalium

  • Delblanc — Sven Delblanc (* 26. Mai 1931 in Swan River, Manitoba, Kanada; † 15. Dezember 1992 in Gottsunda, Schweden) war ein schwedischer Schriftsteller und Literaturwissenschaftler. Die Familie von Sven Delblancs Vater stammte ursprünglich aus Frankreich …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sven Delblanc — (Swan River, Manitoba, 26 de mayo de 1931 Sunnersta, 15 de diciembre de 1992) fue un profesor y escritor sueco galardonado en 1982 con el Premio de Literatura del Consejo Nórdico Nacido en Canadá creció en Trosa, Suecia. Sus padres se divorciaron …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sven Delblanc — Infobox Writer name = Sven Delblanc birthdate = 1931 birthplace = Swan River, Manitoba, Canada deathdate = 1992 deathplace = Sunnersta, Sweden occupation = associate professor of literature at Uppsala University, academic, author, translator… …   Wikipedia

  • Sven Delblanc — (Aussprache: [ˌsvɛnː dɛlˈblaŋː], * 26. Mai 1931 in Swan River, Manitoba, Kanada; † 15. Dezember 1992 in Gottsunda, Schweden) war ein schwedischer Schriftsteller und Literaturwissenschaftler. Die Familie von Sven Delblancs Vater stammte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Delblanc — Dẹlblanc,   Sven, schwedischer Schriftsteller, * Swan River (Provinz Manitoba, Kanada) 26. 5. 1931, ✝ Stockholm 16. 12. 1992; Literarhistoriker in Uppsala. In seinen ersten Romanen, die sich im 18. Jahrhundert abspielen, fabulierte er nach… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • SWEDEN, bibliography — Bibliographic Resources Holmback, Bure. About Sweden, 1900 1963: A Bibliographical Outline. Sweden Illustrated 15 (1968): 5 94. Josephson, Aksel G. S. A List of Swedish Books, 1875 1925. New York: Bonniers, 1927. Nelson, Walter W. A Bibliography… …   Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater

  • Swedish literature — Introduction       the body of writings produced in the Swedish language within Sweden s modern day geographic and political boundaries.       The literatures of Sweden and Finland are closely linked. From the mid 12th century until 1809, Finland …   Universalium

  • Liste schwedischer Schriftsteller — Die Liste umfasst Schriftsteller, die in schwedischer Sprache schreiben/schrieben. Hier sind also sowohl Schriftsteller aus Schweden, die in der dortigen Mehrheitssprache schreiben, als auch schwedischsprachige Schriftsteller aus Finnland (so… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Schwedische Schriftsteller — Die Liste umfasst Schriftsteller, die in schwedischer Sprache schreiben/schrieben. Hier sind also sowohl Schriftsteller aus Schweden, die in der dortigen Mehrheitssprache schreiben, als auch schwedischsprachige Schriftsteller aus Finnland (so… …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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