Poet, novelist, and philosopher Lars Gustafsson was one of Europe’s leading literary figures. Much of his writing is concerned with the search for moral consciousness and the relationship between personal experience and self-awareness, imbued with a philosophically founded skepticism toward language.

Already as a young man he knew he wanted to write poems and about twenty collections of poems were published during his lifetime. Etudes for an old type writer is his last, finished only a few months before he died. He impresses with elementariness, a mixture of memories, philosophical considerations and thoughts about death.

I det hånfullt ironiska vinterljuset 
gled två blå skuggor
mot barriären av nyfallen snö.
Först skuggan av en liten hund
och sedan
den mannens skugga
som äger hunden.
Så föreföll den mindre skuggan 
visa den större vägen.
In the mockingly ironic winter light
two blue shadows glided
towards the barrier of new-fallen snow.
First the shadow of a small dog
and then
the shadow of the man
who owns the dog
And the smaller shadow seemed to be
showing the larger one the way.


Novel, 70,
originally published by Albert Bonniers Förlag (Sweden) 2016

Rights available for: Worldwide

The Author

Lars Gustafsson (1936-2016), the Swedish poet, novelist, and scholar studied theoretical philosophy at Oxford University and Uppsala University, where he earned his PhD with a dissertation on the philosophy of language of the 19th century. He worked as a critic and editor and taught creative writing at several universities throughout the world. Gustafsson’s work is still relevant. His novels have been published worldwide and translated into around thirty languages. His awards include the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize in 2014, the Thomas-Mann-Prize in Germany in 2015, the Nonino Prize for Literature in Italy and the Zbigniew Herbert Prize in Poland in 2016.

»Lars Gustafsson is gone. His poetry lives on alongside Ekelöf and Tranströmer. It belongs to the immortal.«

– Per Wästberg, Expressen

»In ETUDES FOR AN OLD TYPE WRITER Lars Gustafsson’s poetry reaches its absolute peak. On the threshold of death, he finds the great simplicity. The poems are a master’s last words.«

– Bo Gustavsson, Uppsala Nya Tidning