The Nobel Prize in Literature 1974
Born: 29 July 1900, Svartbjörnsbyn, Sweden
Died: 25 August 1976, Stockholm, Sweden
Residence at the time of the award: Sweden
Prize motivation: “for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom”
Prize share: 1/2
Eyvind Johnson was born on the outskirts of Boden, Sweden. He grew up poor. He left the parental home at age 15 and supported himself as a log-driver, sawmill worker and movie theater usher. In 1919 he moved to Stockholm, where he wrote articles for leftist newspapers. During World War II he took a strong stand against Nazism. Johnson lived in other countries Europe until 1950, when moved to Stockholm, Sweden.
Recurring subjects in Eyvind Johnson’s novels are individual, moral, social and political problems. He debuted in 1924 with a collection of short stories, De fyra främlingarna (The Four Strangers). Four autobiographical novels Romansviten om Olof (The Novel about Olof) published from 1934 to 1937 became Johnson’s big breakthrough and is considered one of his main works. He wrote about his fear of the emerging Nazism and Fascism of his day in the trilogy about Krilon (1941–1943), in which the world is described allegorically.