Enquist, Per Olov

(1934-)
   A Swedish novelist, playwright, and essayist, Enquist has been one of the foremost Scandinavian writers since the 1960s. He had his debut with the novel Kristalloget (1961; The Crystal Eye), a story of a young woman who comes to terms with her past by telling about it. His next novel, Fardvagen (1963; The Route), similarly features a narrator who learns to take responsibility for events in his past by repeatedly telling about them; each repetition adds details to the story. Enquist's literary breakthrough was the novel Magnetisorens femte vinter (1964; tr. The Magnetist's Fifth Winter, 1989), a fictionalization of the life of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734—1815), the German hypnotist who gave us Mesmerism. Hess (1966) appears to be a documentary novel about the Nazi Rudolf Hess, but the documents in question have been invented by the author. This technique, which may be called pseudo-documentarism, is an effective means for a writer who wants to investigate the nature of truth.
   Legonarerna (1968; tr. The Legionnaires, 1973) secured Enquist's position as a major writer by giving him an international reputation. It tells about 167 soldiers from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania who were conscripted by the Germans during World War II but fled to Sweden and surrendered. Although they feared reprisals by the Soviets, these men were sent back home by force after the war, and this incident created an intense debate in Sweden at the time. Enquist's novel investigates this episode and presents it with some sympathy for the Soviet occupants of the Baltic States.
   As a young man, Enquist had been active in sports as a high jumper. His novel Sekonden (1971; The Second) draws on his familiarity with the culture of track and field. The novel is built on the true story of a hammer thrower who sets new records by using an underweight hammer. Narrated by the man's son, the novel investigates why a successful athlete would have felt pressured to cheat. The essays in Katedralen i Miinchen och andra berattelser (1972; The Cathedral in Munich and Other Stories) critically examines both the Olympic movement and other aspects of sports as a cultural phenomenon.
   Enquist's next novel, Musikanternas uttag (1978; tr. The March of the Musici ns, 1985), is set in northern Sweden, where he grew up. Informed by the history of the author's family, the story is centered on the general strike of 1909, a watershed event in Swedish labor history. Members of the same family are on different sides of the conflict, and some of Enquist's characters become so disenchanted that they emigrate to Brazil.
   The 1970s saw a major shift in Enquist's work, as he turned to drama and became a very successful playwright. Tribadernas natt: Ett skådespel fran 1889 (1975; tr. The Night of the Tribades: A Play from 1889, 1977) presents the conflict between the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg and Marie David, whom Strindberg suspected of being the lover of his estranged wife, Siri von Essen. Next he wrote Till Fedr (1980; To Phaedra), which reworks material from Greek mythology, and Från regnormarnas liv: En familjetavla fran 1856 (1981; From the Lives of Nightcrawlers: A Family Portrait from 1856), which tells about the relationship between the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and the famous Danish literary couple Johan Ludvig Heiberg and Johanne Louise Heiberg. Strindberg: Ett liv (1984; Strindberg: A Life) was the script of a six-part television series about the Swedish dramatist, while Ilodjurets timm (1988; tr. The Hour of the Lynx, 1990) is a dramatic exploration of the relationship between religion, insanity, and crime. He later published Tre pjaser: Magisk cirkel, Tupilak, Maria Stuart (1994; Three Plays: Magic Circle, Tupilak, Maria Stuart), which deal with wartime collaboration, family dysfunction, and the history of Mary, Queen of Scots, respectively. Hamsun: En filmberattelse (1996; Hamsun: A Film Narrative) is the screenplay of Jan Troell's motion picture Hamsun (1996). Bildmakarna (1998; The Image Makers) tells about the life of the Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf, while the play Systrarna (2000; The Sisters) is based on Anton Chekhov's drama The Three Sisters (1901).
   The short novel Nedstortad angel (1985; tr. Downfall: A Love Story, 1986) discusses both the nature of love and the concept of identity. Characters from Ilodjurets timma and Musikanternas uttaåg reappear in the novel Kapten Nemos bibliotek (1991; tr. Captain Nemo's Library, 1992), in which Enquist returns to his childhood in northern Sweden. The action in the novel Livlakarens besok (1999; tr. The Roy l Physici n's Visit, 2001) is centered on the years 1770— 1772 and depicts the conflict between Enlightenment ideas and conservatism during the reign of Christian VII of Denmark. Lewis resa (2001; Lewi's Journey) exhibits Enquist's trademark pseudo-docu-mentarism as it tells the story of Lewi Pethrus, one of the founders of the Pentecostal movement in Sweden.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Enquist, Per-Olov — ▪ Swedish writer born Sept. 23, 1934, Hjoggböle, Swed.       Swedish writer and social critic of the 1960s.       Enquist s first novels, Kristallögat (1961; “The Crystal Eye”) and Färdvägen (1963; “The Route Travelled”), reflect his aesthetic… …   Universalium

  • Per Olov Enquist — Born 23 September 1934 (1934 09 23) (age 77) Hjoggböle, Skellefteå, Västerbotten, Sweden …   Wikipedia

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  • Per Olov Enquist — in Köln am 22. April 2009 Per Olov „P. O.“ Enquist [pæːr ˈuːlɔv ˈeːnkvist] (* 23. September 1934 in Hjoggböle, Gemeinde Skellefteå) ist ein schwedischer Schriftsteller und Journalist …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Per-Olov-Enquist-Preis — Der Per Olov Enquist Preis ist ein Literaturpreis für junge, europaweit bekannt gewordene Schriftsteller. Der Preis, der im Jahr 2005 zum 70. Geburtstag des schwedischen Autors Per Olov Enquist von seinen internationalen Verlagen neu gestiftet… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Enquist — Enquist,   Per Olov, schwedischer Schriftsteller, * Hjoggböle (Verwaltungsbezirk Västerbotten) 23. 9. 1934; verfasste anfangs Dokumentarromane, ging später mit seinem Stoff freier um und schuf Romane und Dramen mit historischem Hintergrund (z. B …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Olov — or Olof is a Swedish form of the Norwegian Olav/Olaf, meaning ancestor s descendent .[1] Olov may refer to: Per Olov Ahrén (1926–2004), a Swedish clergyman, bishop of Lund from 1980 to 1992 Per Olov Brasar (born 1950), a retired professional ice… …   Wikipedia

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  • Per — ist ein skandinavischer männlicher Vorname[1], abgeleitet vom griechischen Namen Petros (deutsch Peter). Weiteres zu Herkunft und Bedeutung des Namens siehe hier. Andere Formen des Namens sind Pär und Peer. Namensträger Per Ahlmark (* 1939),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liste der Science-Fiction-Autoren — Dies ist eine Liste bedeutender Autoren von Science Fiction. A Autor Leben Sprache Werk Kōbō Abe 1924–1993 japanisch Die vierte Zwischeneiszeit Forrest J. Ackerman 1916−2008 englisch Science Fiction (Herausgeber) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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