Noren, Lars

(1944-)
   A Swedish poet, playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter, Norén is an extremely prolific writer and has a dominant place in Swedish drama. He started out as a poet, however, and had his debut with the collection Syrener, sno (1963; Lilacs, Snow), which received a very negative reception. His second volume, De verbala resterna av en bildprakt som forgar (1964; The Verbal Remnants of a Vanishing Pictorial Splendor), contained echoes of modernism and surrealism. But Norén, who had suffered a psychotic episode as a young man, created very disturbing images that conveyed a vision of the world as being completely without order and meaning. In several additional volumes of poetry, most notably Encyclopedi (1966; Encyclopedia) and Stupor (1968; Stupor), his extremely personal poetry of schizophrenia was sufficiently structured to be meaningful to readers.
   In the early 1970s Norén published two novels, Biskotarna (1970; The Beekepers) and I den underjordiska himlen: Biskotarna II (1972; In the Subterranean Heaven: The Beekeepers II), which tell about experiences of a writer modeled on Norén, particularly the effects of his father's death, and offer depictions of dysfunctional family life. His poetry at this time also adhered more fully to conventional principles of mimesis. The collection Viltspeglar (1972; Game Reflectors) includes poems that have the form of letters to home written by a soldier during the Thirty Years War. Other volumes, such as KungMej och andra dikter (1973; King Me and Other Poems) and Dagliga och nattliga dikter (1974; Poems of Night and Day), show that Norén was still trying to work through his psychic conflicts, but in a more systematic and organized manner than before. This project continued in a large number of poetry collections throughout the 1970s.
   While working hard to maintain his psychic health, Norénalso wrote a number of dramas. His dramatic debut was the television piece Amala, Kamala: Punkter for televisjon (Amala, Kamala: Points for Television, produced in 1971). The first work to be staged was Fursteslickaren (The Prince Licker, produced at the Royal Dramatic Theater, Stockholm, in 1973). Set in Europe during the 16th century, it is an investigation of the relationship between sadomasochism, power, and art. Plays written during the late 1970s exhibit a higher degree of realism in their form, and this is especially the case after Norén sought formal psychotherapy subsequent to the death of his father.
   Norén is currently the central figure in Swedish drama and theater. Since 1980 he has written several dozen plays. Many of them deal with family relations, especially with difficulties in communication. A paradigmatic example is a play written about Eugene O'Neill, Och ge oss skuggorna (1991; And Give Us the Shadows), which deals with O'Neill's family life and uses Long Day's Journey into Night (1956) as an intertext.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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