Hulden, Lars

(1926-)
   A Finland-Swedish poet and short story writer, Hulden occupies a unique position in Finland-Swedish letters. As a philologist and professor at Helsinki University for 25 years, he made both academic and literary contributions, among them the many poems that he provided on festive academic occasions. Witty and cheerful, yet with an undercurrent of melancholia and pessimism, Hulden's work is both deceptively accessible and an embodiment of artistic seriousness.
   Hulden had his literary debut with the poetry collection Drapa nacken (1958; Killing the Nixie), which was followed by Speletuss (1961; Blithe Spirits) and Spofugl (1964; Whipperwit); these volumes attest to the fun-loving play with language found in Hulden's rural background. Enronnen (1966; The Lone Mountain Ash) and Herr Varg! (1969; Mr. Wolf!) are darker—the wolf in the latter collection eats the speaker of the poem about it—and more serious, too. Other collections bear the titles Dikter i fosterlandska amnen (1967; Poems on National Themes), Herdedikter (1973; Pastoral Poems), Lasning for vandrare (1974; Reading for Wanderers), and Island i december (1976; Iceland in December).
   Hailing from Ostrobothnia, Hulden has felt a great kinship with Johan Ludvig Runeberg, and that relationship is expressed in J. L. Runeberg och hans vanner (1978; J. L. Runeberg and His Friends), the poems in which both comment on Runeberg's texts and imitate his style. This is also the case with some of the poems in Dikter vid säskilda tillfallen (1979; Poems on Special Occasions). The three collections Jag blir gammal, kara du (1981; Darling, I Am Growing Old), Mellan jul och ragnarok (1984; Between Christmas and the End of the World), and Judas iskariotsamfundets arsbok 1987 (1987; The Judas Iscariot Society Yearbook 1987) are statements from a man who knows he is approaching the end of his productive life.
   Psalmer for trolösa kristna (1991; Hymns for Christians without Faith) has appeal for believers and nonbelievers alike, while Nar flaggorna flog (1992; When Flags Were Flown) is a collection of occasional poems. Recent volumes are Sanger, allvarsamma (2000; Serious Songs) and Sangbokfran scen och kabaré (2000; Songbook for Stage and Cabaret). The poetry collections Vegas fard (1997; Vega's Journey) and its continuation Aterkommen fran Atlanta (2005; Back from Atlanta) deal with what it is like to be growing old.
   Hulden has also written a number of scripts for radio and stage, including a play about Edith Södergran, Resen till Raivola (1992; The Journey to Raivola). Hus (1979; Houses) is a collection of short stories. Berattelser ur mitt forflutna liv (1990; Stories from My Past Life) and Berattelser om mig sjalv och andra (1992; Stories about Myself and Others) contain made-up as well as possibly factual narratives.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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