The Dwarf

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Macmillan, 1973 - Fiction - 240 pages
4 Reviews

"I have noticed that sometimes I frighten people; what they really fear is themselves. They think it is I who scare them, but it is the dwarf within them, the ape-faced manlike being who sticks up his head from the depths of their souls."

Pär Lagerkvist's richly philosophical novel The Dwarf is an exploration of individual and social identity. The novel, set in a time when Italian towns feuded over the outcome of the last feud, centers on a social outcast, the court dwarf PIccoline. From his special vantage point Piccoline comments on the court's prurience and on political intrigue as the town is gripped by a siege. Gradually, Piccoline is drawn deeper and deeper into the conflict, and he inspires fear and hate around him as he grows to represent the fascination of the masses with violence.


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I was knocked out when I read this book, though it is now many years ago. I just wanted to put in my 4 stars to keep the rating high; I'm not able to give a detailed review. A wonderful author and a riveting book.

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User Review  - Mello - Goodreads

The journal entries of an evil bitter dwarf, who is simultaneously laughable and not. The dwarf adamantly insists he's so different from humans as to be a different species yet his humanity is all too ... Read full review

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About the author (1973)

Pär Lagerkvist, playwright, poet, essayist, and novelist, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1951. The Dwarf, long considered a masterpiece of modern literature, was first published in 1945. Mr. Lagerkvist died in Sweden in 1974.

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