Lars Gustafsson [ Sweden, USA ]
Lars Gustafsson was born in Västerås, central Sweden, in 1936. He completed his philosophy studies at the University of Uppsala and Magdelen College, Oxford, with a dissertation on "three extremists in the philosophy of language" (Friedrich Nietzsche, Alexander Bryan Johnson and Fritz Mauthner). He published his first novel, 'Vägvila : ett mysteriespel på prosa', (Engl: Rest on the Way – A Mystery Play in Prose), at the age of only 21. Gustafsson himself dates his actual debut from 1959, when 'Poeten Brumbergs sista dagar och död' (Engl: Last Days and Death of the Poet Brumberg) appeared.
From 1960 Gustafsson was editor, and from 1965 to 1972 chief editor, of the Swedish literary journal 'Bonniers Litterära Magasin'. After this he travelled extensively and accepted various guest lectureships including in West Germany. The offer of a DAAD scholarship brought him to Berlin in 1972. Gustafsson had already made a name for himself internationally as a writer and academic when he decided to change his life dramatically in 1982 by emigrating to the US, remarrying, and converting to Judaism. He moved to Austin, Texas, and became an American citizen in 1983. He held a position as adjunct professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas and still lives in Austin where he teaches philosophy at University. His extensive work has won many awards, including the Prix Européen de l’essai Charles Veillon (1983), the Swedish Academy’s Bellman Prize (1990) and the Swedish Pilot Prize (1996). Since 2000, he has been a member of the 'Academy of Fine Arts' in Munich. In Germany, Gustafsson first gained critical acclaim with his poetry during the 1970’s. His poems focus on questions which he also tackles as a novelist and essayist. The search for identity, moral consciousness, the relationship between personal experience and self-awareness, juxtaposed with a philosophically founded scepticism towards language, are the main themes of his work. Since his novels that would later form the series 'Sprickorna i muren' (Engl: The Cracks in the Wall), Gustafsson is regarded internationally as one of Scandinavia’s best-known authors. Here the author uses crime motifs to present the fragility of a world view which relies on expressions such as 'good' and 'evil' and concepts of personal integrity.
Lars Gustafsson is a master of the most varied literary forms. His most recent publications have been the poetry collection 'En tid i Xanadu' (2002) and the novel 'Dekanen' (2003). In 2005/06 he was Writer in Residence at Tübingen University, Germany.
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