Lo-Johansson, Ivar

(1901-1990)
   A Swedish novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Lo-Johansson came from a background of oppressed agricultural laborers called statare, a class of people who lived serflike lives on large estates, where they provided the farm labor that was needed there. Lacking in formal schooling, he educated himself by reading and traveling widely. After publishing several travel narratives and the novel Måna ardod (1932; Mana Is Dead), Lo-Johansson wrote Godnatt, jord (1933; tr. Breaking Free, 1990), a collective novel that detailed the predicament ofthe statare. He continued to write about them in three volumes of short stories, Statarna (1936-1937; The Estate Workers) and Jordproletarerna (1941; Proletarians of the Land), in which he traced the history of this mistreated social group. The novel Kungsgatan (1935; King s Street) told about youth who left the rural areas for the city, while Traktorn (1943; The Tractor) discussed issues associated with the modernization of agriculture.
   One of Lo-Johansson's finest novels is Bara en mor (1939; tr. Only a Mother, 1991), which tells the story ofa statare woman whose life is ruined by the ignorance and narrowmindedness of her fellow estate workers. In 1951 Lo-Johansson started a series of autobiographical novels; the first volume, Analfabeten (1951; The Illiterate), deals with the life of his father, while other volumes in the series, for example, Gardfarihandlaren (1953; tr. Peddling My Wares, 1995) and Journalisten (1956; The Journalist), draw on the author's own experiences.
   Between 1975 and 1985 Lo-Johansson also published four volumes of memoirs. He returned to the genre of the short story in 1968, and by 1972 he had published seven collections dealing with the seven deadly sins.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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