Astrid Lindgren knew what she was talking about. The conventions that the playwright August Strindberg denounced so virulently in the Swedish upper class could only be belied by this humorous rebellion. The inner child that played in her penetrated millions of her readers. As if prompted, “You don’t have to do everything right. Sometimes it’s better to be weird, but his own.”
detective story for children
She certainly didn’t do it right. Unlike his sisters and brother, later a member of the Swedish parliament, Vimmerby, originally from the Kalmar coast, never took the traditional path in his life.
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At the age of nineteen, she became pregnant by the editor of the local newspaper for which she wrote. Also, because he was married, she separated his family into seven branches. Everyone looked at her through her fingers, so she preferred to go to Stockholm, where she learned to type and shorthand.
It is known that Lindgren wrote most of his literary works in shorthand. Additionally, while working as a stenographer for Swedish professor of forensics Harry Söderman, she was given the idea of child detectives, which brought her considerable recognition. The cases of boy detective Kalle Blomkvist have been translated into 32 languages and repeatedly filmed (including by Czech director Ludvík Ráža).
The first book with Blomkvist was published in 1946. But a year earlier, Pipi Dlouháčocha won the hearts of Swedish youth. In a healing subversive story about a fearless, independent girl living without her parents in Villa Vilekula, where she is kept company only by the monkey Mr. Nilsson and the horse she picks up with no problem. Pilot of the Citronium Cimprlín Mucholapka The long bottom, as its full name suggests, is ruled by Herculean power.
Join the crowd
When we think of these fun properties, we end up with the story of an abandoned child who emotionally defends his identity. Mom is dead, dad sails the seas. Pipi assiduously reflects the efforts of the so-called adults to re-educate her, to be included in the herd. The multiplier is called a substitute, the teacher worries and hands over to the postmen the letters that she addresses to herself.
Under the constant careers, the desire for his father flows like a downline, who in the meantime has become the “king of the blacks” on the distant islands. And maybe one day he will come back…
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If we compare fiction to reality, we find that Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson had a son, Lars, from an unhappy relationship with a married journalist. She gave birth to him in 1926 and put him aside.
It wasn’t until she married Sture Lindgren in 1931 that she removed Lars from his foster family and began raising him properly. Three years later, she also had a daughter, Karin. She had just told him before bed about the girl from Villa Vilekula – and it was Karin who named this legendary character Pipi Pantyhose.
The same year Pipi was formed, Lindgren began printing in a Swedish newspaper the continuation of the story of the children of Bullerbyn, a town not unlike his native Vimmerby. Lisa, Olle, Lasse, Bosse, Anna, Britta… The simple but particular names of classmates in the village resonate in all of us. We grew up with them, actually preparing us for a contemporary, infinitely tougher Nordic romance.
With a propeller on his back
In 1948, Lindgren was sent to the Swedish women’s magazine Damernas Värld in America to capture events there in the form of short essays. The sensitive observer paid particular attention to racial discrimination – the question of otherness and the inability of the majority to accept this difference will remain his central theme.
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This is also reflected in his trilogy of books from the 50s and 60s, whose protagonist is Karkulín from the roof – a naughty creature with a propeller on its back, thanks to which it can fly.
Special Good Souls
In 1959, Astrid wrote a remarkable book, Southern Meadow, in which she communicated openly with young readers about death. And in the sixties, Emil Neplecha was born, another of the Lindgren riots, which drives “reasonable” people crazy. For example, if – as you probably remember from childhood – he carefully licks a bowl of soup until his head gets stuck in it.
Over the following decades, Astrid Lindgren became strongly socially engaged. She fought violence against children and animals, criticized Swedish tax policy. In 1981 she returned with the book Ronja, the thief’s daughter – about another special good soul that no one will help, so she has to take care of herself.