Jersild, Per Christian

(1935-)
   A Swedish novelist and essayist, Jersild has produced work with critical and popular appeal. Trained in medicine, which he practiced full-time for much of his career as a writer, he has observed hospitals, medical research organizations, and other hierarchies with a keen eye and sharp wit. After publishing a collection of short stories and two novels, one of which, Till varmare laänder (1961; To Warmer Lands), takes place partly in hell, Jersild had his literary breakthrough with Calvinols resa genom varlden (1965; Calvinol's Voyage throughout the World), a doctor's fantastic journey through time and space. His first big success, however, was the novel Grisjakten (1968; The Pig Hunt), which tells about the eradication of swine on the Swedish island of Gotland. Jersild shows that the bureaucratic efficiency with which the book's narrator-protagonist goes about his task is related to such historical phenomena as the Holocaust and other instances of genocide. The technocratic mind-set is further explored in Vi ses i Song My (1970; See You in Song My), in which Swedish soldiers are being trained to act in ways contrary to reason.
   The novel Djurdoktorn (1973; tr. The Animal Doctor, 1975) tells about a woman veterinarian who, in a dystopian future, looks after the health of research animals that are being unnecessarily experimented on. In Barnens o (1976; tr. Children's Island, 1986) a 10-year-old boy deceives his mother by pretending to be away at summer camp, while instead staying home, reflecting on the big questions oflife. Babels hus (1978; tr. House ofBabel, 1987) has a large hospital as its setting, and Jersild portrays both its stratified society and the lack of communication that mark the relationships between such groups as doctors, nurses, and patients.
   The main character in En levande sjal (1980; tr. A Living Soul, 1988) is, quite literally, a brain in a vat, kept alive by laboratory scientists and experimented on by them for financial gain. Jersild has taken a philosophical concept—the brain in a vat is a popular contemporary version of Rene Descartes's famous "evil deceiver" argument—and uses it to probe the limits of what it means to be human.
   Jersild's dystopian vision is also present in the novel Efter floden (1982; tr. After the Flood, 1986), in which a small group of survivors of a nuclear war find their humanity gradually slipping away. As they struggle for survival, often by brutal means, they are destroyed by a virus. Dan Brown's blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code (2003) is anticipated by Jersild's fantasy novel Den femtionde fralsaren (1984; The Fiftieth Savior), in which a direct descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene shows up in Venice in the 1790s. Captured and tortured by officials of the Roman Catholic Church, he escapes briefly and impregnates a marchioness, whose child then becomes the 51st generation descendant of Christ.
   Drawing on one of the great classics of Swedish literature, Selma Lagerlof's Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (1906; tr. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, 1907), Jersild created a sequel to the story of the boy Nils in his novel Holgerssons (1991). En lysande marknad (1992; A Splendid Market), on the other hand, is a detective story that is strongly critical of Swedish society. A major theme of En gammal karlek (1995; An Old Love) is the question of when euthanasia is morally defensible. Ljusets drottning (2000; The Queen of Light), tells about a young man who discovers that his adopted mother is really his biological mother, and that his biological father is a famous, but anonymous, sperm donor. The story is a major satire on life in Sweden during the final decades of the 20th century. Set in medieval Stockholm, De ondas kloster (2003; The Monastery of the Evil Ones) investigates the potential for evil found within religion.
   Two collections of Jersild's essays are Humpty Dumptys fall: Livsaskadningsbok (1990; The Fall of Humpty Dumpty: An Outlook on Life) and Darwins ofullbordade: Om manniskans biologiska natur (1997; Darwin Unfinished: On Humanity's Biological Nature); the latter presents Jersild's philosophy of mind. He has also written a memoir of his youth, Fem hjarten i en tandsticksask (1989; Five Hearts in a Matchbox).

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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  • Per Christian Jersild — P. C. Jersild 2009 Per Christian Jersild (* 14. März 1935 in Katrineholm, auch P. C. Jersild) ist ein schwedischer Schriftsteller und Arzt. Jersild hat von 1960 bis heute über 30 Bücher veröffentlicht. Seine bekanntesten Werke sind Barnens ö (Die …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jersild — ist der Familienname folgender Personen Jørgen Jersild (1913 2004), dänischer Komponist Per Christian Jersild (* 1935), schwedischer Schriftsteller Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichneter …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jersild — Jẹrsild,   Per Christian, schwedischer Schriftsteller, * Katrineholm (Verwaltungsbezirk Södermanland) 14. 3. 1935; nach Studium der Medizin und Psychologie praktizierte Jersild als Arzt und war Dozent für Sozial und Präventivmedizin. Seit 1977… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • P. C. Jersild — P.C. Jersild 2009 Per Christian Jersild (* 14. März 1935 in Katrineholm, auch P. C. Jersild) ist ein schwedischer Schriftsteller und Arzt. Jersild hat von 1960 bis heute über 30 Bücher veröffentlicht. Seine bekanntesten Werke sind Barnens ö (Die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • P. C. Jersild — P.C. Jersild 2009 Per Christian Jersild, better known as P. C. Jersild, (born 1935) is a Swedish author and physician.[1] He also holds an honorary doctorate in medicine from Uppsala University, and another one in engineering from the Royal… …   Wikipedia

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