Ivar Lo-Johansson

Ivar Lo-Johansson
Ivar Lo-Johansson
Ivar Lo-Johansson
BornKarl Ivar Loe
(1901-02-23)23 February 1901
Ösmo, Sweden
Died11 April 1990(1990-04-11) (aged 89)
Stockholm, Sweden

Ivar Lo-Johansson (23 February 1901 – 11 April 1990) was a Swedish writer of the proletarian school. His autobiographical 1979 memoir, Pubertet (Puberty), won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 1979.[1]


Harry Martinson and Ivar Lo-Johansson (right)
Ivar Lo-Johansson in a farm.

Lo-Johansson was born in Ösmo in a family of bound (unfree) agricultural labourers.[2][3][4] He wrote over 50 proletarian novels and short-stories, all of which carried vivid portrayals of working-class people.[5] He described the situation of the Swedish land-workers, statare,[6] in his novels, short stories and journalism, which encouraged the adoption of certain land reforms in Sweden.[4] He also caused much controversy with his features on old-age pensioners, gypsies and other non-privileged people. He died, aged 89, in Stockholm.[3]

Lo-Johansson first came to the literary fore in the mid-1930s with the publication of his short story collections. His stories were infused with realistic and detailed depictions of the plight of landless Swedish peasants, known as statare. The first of his short stories collection to be published was Statarna I–II (1936–37; The Sharecroppers), followed by his Jordproletärerna (1941; Proletarians of the Earth, a novel. Autobiographical to a large extent, these works were nevertheless more than one man's story. They were a potent attack on the prevalent social conditions, especially the inequality in Swedish society. Lo-Johansson's books combined political astuteness and literary craftsmanship to such a competent degree that they are regarded as the stimulant behind the labor movement that ultimately led to the abolition of indentured farm labor in 1945.[3]

Lo-Johansson is best known for his vivid recollections of the life in Swedish trade-unionist and literary circles of the twenties, thirties and forties. He also continued throughout his long life to insist that literature should face the world from the under-dog's perspective.

Lo-Johansson's works are characterized by a vivid expression of individual human suffering. A great example of this motif is character of the farm servant's wife in Only A Mother (1939). He also explored the conflict between individualism and collectivism extensively in his autobiographical series of eight novels. He published the series in the 1950s with The Illiterate (1951). He published the last book in the series, The Proletarian Writer in 1960. In the 1970s he wrote numerous short stories dealing with the seven deadly sins. In the 1980s he wrote several memoirs.[5]

Other Languages
Nederlands: Ivar Lo-Johansson
norsk nynorsk: Ivar Lo-Johansson
português: Ivar Lo-Johansson
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ivar Lo-Johansson
українська: Івар Лу-Юганссон