Björling, Gunnar Olof

1887-1960


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 Gunnar Olof Björling 1887-1960

Fil.mag. Finlandssvensk modernistisk poet/författare.
Född 1887-05-31 i Helsingfors (Helsinki), Nyland, Finland.
Död 1960-07-11 i Helsingfors (Helsinki), Nyland, Finland.

Gunnar Olof Björling. Född 1887-05-31 i Helsingfors (Helsinki), Nyland, Finland. Död 1960-07-11 i Helsingfors (Helsinki), Nyland, Finland. Fil.mag. Finlandssvensk modernistisk poet/författare.
f Edvard Björling (f Åberg). Ansedel Född 1854-04-18. Död 1914-02-06 i Helsingfors (Helsinki), Nyland, Finland. Stabskapten, kollegieassessor och postförvaltare i Finland.
ff Johan Eggert Åberg. Ansedel Född 1820-05-14 i Fredricksfors, Kullaa fs, Satakunta, Finland. Död 1885 i Kimito (Kemiö), Egentliga Finland, Finland. Prost i Nakkila, Finland.
fff Per Eggert Åberg (f Björling). Ansedel Född 1780-12-10 på Hagelsnäs, Vika (W). Död i Ulvsby (Ulvila), Satakunta, Finland. Bruksdirektör.
ffm Christina Lovisa Frestadius. Ansedel Född 1780. Död 1854 i Ulvsby (Ulvila), Satakunta, Finland.
fm Charlotta Eufrosyne Aejmelaeus. Ansedel Född 1820 i Nystad fs (Uusikaupunki), Egentliga Finland, Finland. Död 1889-12-16 i Björneborg (Pori), Satakunta, Finland.  
 
m Lydia Maria Rivell. Ansedel Född 1859-09-04 i Björnlunda (D).    
 
   
 

Levnadsbeskrivning
Finland-Swedish modernist poet, whose work is characterized by his attempt to find "words and more than to understand / words and that no other is". Most of his career, Björlingt suffered from lack of understanding - he was considered incomprehensible. Many of Björling's poems capture fragile impressions from his own surroundings in Brunnsparken, its hundred-year-old trees, the old park, and yacht harbour: "O du blankblåa hamn / och båtar i hamnen / och vatten, och vatten / och jaktklubbens segel / ett vittvitt på fjärden." Björling also wrote aphorisms. Gunnar Björling was born in Helsinki as the son of Edvard Björling, a post-office official, and Lydia Maria Rivell. His childhood and youth Björling spent in Helsinki, Viipuri, and Kangasala. In 1901-02 he attended military academy in Fredrikshamn. He studied psychology at the University of Helsinki, graduating in 1905. As a misfit with his unconventional opinions and informal relationship with his students in the Swedish Normal Lyceum, Björling abandoned his career as a teacher. He devoted himself entirely to writing and drew around him a group of disciples who wanted to renew Finnish literature. During the Civil war (1917-1918) Björling remained in Helsinki, which was ruled by Reds, but kept a secret White radio sender in his cellar. Now is not dead it is a voice barely shimmering in this night of light and between space and sea (1953; trans. by David McDuff, from A way to measure time, 1992) During the Continuation War (1941-44) an air bomb hit the house where Björling lived and destroyed all his manuscripts. In the 1940s and 1950s his basement apartment, a former sauna, in Kaivopuisto (Brunnsparken), on the city's shore zone, became a legendary meeting place. Björling's fleeing impressions of this milieu especially marked his later collections. As a poet Björling made his debut at the age of 35 with Vilande dag. The book was published by Daimon, a short-lived publishing company founded by the writer L.A. Salava. Björling was deeply influenced by positivism and Edward Westermarck's relativism. Also Nietzsche, Jean-Marie Guyau, and Henri Bergson left traces on Björling's thought, which he presented in Korset of löftet (1925) and in articles written for the magazine Quesego. With the poet and critic Henry Parland he shared deep interest and enthusiasm for jazz and films. After his hectic dadaistic period in the late 1920s, Björling published Kiri-ra! (1930) and Solgrönt (1933), Björling started to use motifs from everyday life and nature. "Jag skriver inte litteratur, jag söker mitt ansikte och fingrarna," (I write literature, I'm looking for my face and my fingers) he wrote. Björling's world did not have grammatical or syntactical continuity, it was always open, moving, unfinished, in which "luft är och ljus" (The air is and light). Crucial for his thinking was the idea of the endless flow of life, but he also was painfully aware of the limits of expression. "Och mitt liv, allt liv ryser ihop sig i virrvarren. Och jag upptäckte kanske - virrvarren, och klarhet. Jag måste återge dem. Som förvirringar och klarheten. Som en princip att inte bedra sig - : och att ha fattat ett mer än människors tankes karaktär - själva karaktären, det brokiglevande och goda." (from Solgrönt, 1933) From the beginning, Björling's work did not receive much understanding - he was an oddity, and in the 1930s Björling printed privately several collections. Within the modernist camp Hagar Olsson attacked on Björling but also on Elmer Diktonius. When the Swedish Literary Society in Finland decided to give him one of its literary prizes in 1947, the chairperson of the association resigned as a protest. In 1955 Björling received the state litarary award for Att i sitt öga, after publishing some 20 collections. Björling also gained recognition from Sweden where a literary association, Björlingsamfund, was founded in 1949. He died in Helsinki on July 11, 1960. Björling's work have inspired such composers as Kaija Saariaho, Allan Pettersson, Lars-Åke Franke-Blom, Magnus Lindberg, and Gottfrid Gräsbeck. Lindberg's series of vocal pieces,' Jag vill breda vingar ut' (I want to spread my wings), was composed in 1977-1978. Björling's poetic material is massive: some thirty thousand poems are preserved in the library of Åbo Academy.


     

  

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