About the author
Olof Lagercrantz vwas a multifaceted and diligent writer. He was a poet, translator, critic, debater, reporter (editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter 1960–1975) and not least an incredible cicerone of the literary world. Olof Lagercrantz possessed a unique power position in Swedish culture. He was a shining stylist, unrivalled in his use of the Swedish language. His mind was inordinately sharp, but in some instances his views were highly controversial, and he could be ruthless in personal contexts.
About the winning piece
From Hell to Paradise: Dante and his comedy assumes a special position in the history of the Literature Prize for two reasons. This was the first time a work of non-fiction was awarded the prize, and it was the only time in the history of the prize that it was shared. Whether it devalued the prize has been debated since. In contrast, the value of Olof Lagercrantz’s work has never been questioned. It represents a new type of work, as he approaches old literary works as were they written in and addressed to present times. Reading is wide-ranging and simple and for this precise reason, the deep perspective expands. Allusions are abundant and suggestive. And the style – light and comprehensible!
Från helvetet till paradiset (From Hell to Paradise)
Published by: Wahlström & Widstrand
Publication year: 1964
This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say
"From Hell to Paradise" is a critical study of artistic distinction, a modern poet's interpretation of a classical work, which also conveys a personal message.