Astrid Lindgren - A short biography
A classical example of noding my homework - this is an assignment I wrote about five years ago. Translated from Norwegian and updated for your reading pleasure.
Astrid Ericsson was born November 14th 1907, just outside the small town of Vimmerby in Småland, Sweden. She grew up there with three siblings - an older brother and two younger sisters.
While growing up on the farm, one of the farm helpers' daughters spent a lot of time reading with Astrid. This awakened her interest in literature. They read a varied lot of books together, everything from Robinson Crusoe to the Bible
Lindgren early showed signs of just wanting to read and write, something that the teachers at her school (ironically enough) didn't like too much. Luckily, she largely ignored them, and read and wrote as much as she could anyway.
Lindgren had a rather rough youth. She saw people falling in love all around her, but she didn't. As a sort of a compensation, she became difficult to handle, and became part of a noisy and rude group of girls.
Lindgren's youth got a sudden stop when she was expecting a baby at only 18 years old. At that time, it was a complete outrage to have a child when you are that young, but Lindgren didn't want to marry the child's father.
Instead, she ran off to Stockholm with Lars (her child), and started working as a secretary. She had to give up her child to foster care while she tried to get her life together, as being a single mother was by no means easy at that time.
After three years Lindgren couldn't take it anymore, and went to take her child back. She looked after him as best she could. When she was 23 years old, she found the man she wanted to marry, Sture Lindgren. They got married in 1931, and Astrid stopped working. She had another child, Karin, and decided to spend her time with the children instead.
In 1941 the four of them moved to a Stockholm apartment, where Astrid has lived ever since.
The writer Astrid Lindgren
After the family moved to Stockholm, the first signs of Astrid's writing skills started showing.
Lindgren's first character was Pippi Langstrømpe (Pippi Longstocking), who became part of this world after her daughter Karin was ill one day. Karin was sick, and was asking for stories. One day she asked her mother ""Tell me about Pippi Longstocking!". Astrid did, and a few years later, the first Pippi story was published.
At first, the publishers didn't want the story about Pippi, as they thought she was too crazy and odd. Boy, were they to regret that decision.
Throughout the years after her initial publication, Astrid was often bothered with depressions and melancholy. Writing became a therapy - a way of coping with her youth, the past and current worries. As she said herself: When I was writing, my worries couldn't reach me. So I wrote.
In 1946, Lindgren was hired by a small publisher - the same publisher that had published her first books - to do some office work. She progressed to become an editor of childrens books, a position she kept for 23 years.
In the years from 1947 and onwards, Lindgren kept getting awards and grants that helped her to keep writing, and to keep up her confidence in her own work.
Astrid Lindgren lived in Paris in the middle of the 1950s. While she was there, she wrote several books about Kati. During this time, Sture Lindgren died. The same year, her son married, and in 1958, Karin married. Her family disintegrating like this became a strong affection in Lindgren's life.
In 1961 Astrid's mother died, followed eight years later by her father. The deaths sparked a desire to work out her past. She started writing the love story of her parents, in a style and form that made the same story her own autobiography. The story was based on old love letters and observations she noted in her diaries.
After her death, many have voiced the opinion that Lindgren ought to get the Nobel Prize in literature posthumously. I couldn't agree more.
About Lindgren's Writing
About her style
While being wildly entertaining, Lindgren's style has also been a strong pedagogic guideline for many parents through the years.
The strong female characters in the books (especially Pippi, of course) have raised a generation of children on feminism and equal rights thoughts.
In several of her stories, most notably The Brothers Lionheart, she writes about children in distress - in their fight against their difficult circumstances and adversaries. The Lionheart book is probably one of the most political children's books I have ever read, cleverly disguised in a beautiful children's tale. If you haven't read this book - no matter what age you are - do read it.
Her writing has not exclusively been children's literature - she has written poetry and also wrote the songs to all the Pippi and Emil i Lønneberget movies.
her books (Norwegian titles. I couldn't find a complete list of the Swedish ones, unfortunately. If anyone has one or can direct me to one, please do!)
- Juleferie er et godt påfunn, sa Marikken 1994
- Da Lisabet stakk en ert i nesa 1993
- Ida og Emil fra Lønneberget 1990
- Ikkeno' knussel, sa Emil i Lønneberget 1984
- Ronja Røverdatter 1981
- Pippi Langstrømpe har juletrefest 1979
- Marikken och Junibakkens Pims 1976
- Tilbake til Bakkebygrenda 1976
- Samuel August fra Sevedstorp og Hanna i Hult 1976
- Brødrene Løvehjerte 1973
- Emil i Lønneberget gir seg ikke 1970
- Karlsson på taket spøker igjen 1968
- Nye spell av Emil i Lønneberget 1966
- Vi på Saltkråkan 1964
- Lotta fra Bråkmakergata 1964
- Emil i Lønneberget 1963
- Karlsson på taket flyr igjen 1962
- Marikken 1960
- Sunnaneng 1959
- Barna fra Bråkmakergata 1958
- Rasmus, Pontus og Trille 1957
- Rasmus på loffen 1956
- Lillebror og Karlsson på taket 1955
- Kati i Paris 1955
- Mio, min Mio 1954
- Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist og lille Rasmus 1953
- Kati i Italia 1954
- Ingen steder som Bakkebygrenda 1952
- Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist lever farlig 1951
- Kati i Amerika 1953
- Kajsa Krabat 1950
- Per Pusling 1949
- Mye moro i Bakkebygrenda 1949
- Pippi Langstrømpe går til sjøs 1948
- Alle vi barna i Bakkebygrenda 1948
- Pippi Langstrømpe går ombord 1947
- Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist 1946
- Pippi Langstrømpe 1944
- Britt-Mari letter sitt hjerte 1944
for more information, have a go at www.astridlindgren.se! :)
Astrid Lindgren died the 28th of January 2002. Her books will not.