Aniara: A Review of Man in Time and Space

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Story Line Press, 1999 - Poetry - 157 pages
The great Swedish writer Harry Martinson published his masterpiece, Aniara, during the height of the Cold War - right after the Soviet Union announced that it had exploded the hydrogen bomb. Aniara is the story of a luxurious space ship, loaded with 8,000 evacuees, fleeing an Earth made uninhabitable by Man's technological arrogance. A malfunction knocks the craft off course, taking these would-be Mars colonists on an irreversible journey into deep space. Aniara is a book of prophecy, a panoramic view of humanity's possible fate. It has been translated into seven languages and adapted into a popular avant-garde opera. This volume is the first complete English language version and received the prestigious American Scandinavian Foundation Award.

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About the author (1999)

Harry Martinson was born in Jämshög, Sweden on May 6, 1904. When he was six his father died and then his mother immigrated to America, leaving him and his sisters as parish orphans, fostered out to various families. He ran away from his foster parents and went to sea from 1920 to 1927. After returning to Sweden, ill with tuberculosis and destitute, he came under the care of his future wife, Moa Swartz, who became a well-known author in her own right. His first book of poetry, Spökskepp (Ghost Ship), was published in 1929. He also wrote a collection of poetry entitled Passad (Trade Wind) and an epic poem about space travel entitled Aniara. His novels include Nässlorna Blomma (Flowering Nettle), Vägen Ut (The Way Out), Kap Farväl (Cape Farewell), and Vägen till Klockrike (The Road). He was elected to the Swedish Academy in 1949, a notable achievement for a writer with no formal education. He shared the 1974 Nobel Prize for Literature with novelist Eyvind Johnson. Their honors were considered controversial, since they were close friends and both had been long-time members of the Swedish Academy. He was offended by the insinuation of corruption and withdrew into depression. He committed suicide on February 11, 1978.

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