1962 Eyvind Johnson, Sweden: Hans nådes tid

1962 Eyvind Johnson, Sverige: Hans nådes tid
Harald Borgström

About the author

Eyvind Johnson was a writer with a distinct penchant for epic storytelling. His is a wide choice of themes from Greek antique – Strändernas svall, a modern rewrite of the Odyssey – to his tough childhood environment in Norrbotten as depicted in his suite of novels about Olof. His deep-felt commitment to contemporary crucial moral and political issues consistently placed him in opposition to dictatorships and abuse of individual human beings. Johnson was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974.

About the winning piece

The Days of his Grace is a historic novel set in Carolingian times. The protagonist is Johannes Lupigis who belongs to the Longobard people vanquished by Charlemagne. Lupigis is accepted into service at Charlemagne’s court and makes a career as the emperor’s secret secretary. In a modernistic, complex narrative structure built up on a leitmotif technique and interposed sections of prose-lyric, the reader participates in the protagonist’s life story and the destiny of his people. There is an abyss between the smiling secretary’s resigned, courteous attitude and his inner self where the screams of vanquished and prisoners will not be silenced. The novel underpins the universal questions on the attitude of a text to power and history. But it also paints a personal picture of the secretary, revealing hints of Eyvind Johnson’s own character.

Hans nådes tid (The Days of his Grace)

Published by: Aldus publishing company 

Publication year: 1960

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

The Nordic Council Literature Prize 1962 goes to Eyvind Johnson for his novel “The Days of his Grace”, which, with its powerful creation of characters and in a secretive, ironic style, brings forth great historical material in a mirror of our time.