Men and Other Misfortunes and Stormy Corner
AUTHOR: Wagner, Elin
PUBLISHER: Xlibris Corporation
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Elin WÃ¤gner, author of Men and Other Misfortunes and Stormy Corner, was born in Lund in southern Sweden in 1882. Her mother died when she was three. Although an aunt came to fill the gap, Elin felt the loss all her life and expressed it in many ways in her writing. Her father, a minister and school principal, sent her brother Harald to university but refused to do the same for Elin. She dropped out of high school in anger. After serving as her fatherÂ´s secretary for a short time, she created her own career in journalism, starting as a reviewer and reporter for a local paper. Before long she moved to Stockholm, where for many years she was a successful reporter, columnist, and reviewer for the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter.
WÃ¤gner was one of the "New Women" prominent in the literature and culture of the early twentieth century in Europe and the United States. While continuing as a journalist, she began to write innovative fiction in the bold spirit of contemporaries she admired, among them Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Olive Schreiner, and Vera Brittain.
WÃ¤gnerÂ´s first novel Norrtullsligan (Men and Other Misfortunes in the translation) was originally a popular newspaper serial. In 1908 it came out as a book and was an immediate success for its witty and sympathetic depiction of the struggles of the new women office workers in the cities. A second novel, Pennskaftet (Penwoman), about suffragettes in Stockholm, appeared in 1910. The protagonist, a journalist, plans to maintain her independence in a liberated marriage as she continues to be active in the struggle for womenÂ´s rights.
More than twenty books followed in the years before WÃ¤gner died in 1949. They included the powerful classic Ã…sa-Hanna and a two-volume biography of Selma LagerlÃ¶f, the world famous novelist, who was the first woman member of the Swedish Academy. The second woman accorded that honor was Elin WÃ¤gner herself, in 1944.
WÃ¤gnerÂ´s moral concerns grew in the years between the two World Wars. Inspired by Gandhi and English Quakers, she worked closely with other pioneers of international womenÂ´s peace organizations and was a co-founder of the Swedish branch of Save the Children. These experiences led to novels dramatizing the tragic course of world events and imagining solutions women and men could bring about together. An early example is Stormy Corner, the second novel in Stockholm Stories. The story takes place against the background of the last year of World War I, in neutral Sweden, which was blockaded, and also threatened by the Communist revolution in Russia.
In 1949 WÃ¤gnerÂ´s book-length essay VÃ¤ckarklocka (Alarm Clock) sounded a wake-up call for women to realize their potential to bring about world peace and save the environment. She was an environmentalist long before Rachel Carson published her Silent Spring.
WÃ¤gner lived her last years in the home she had built in the province of SmÃ¥land, writing and working with her friend Flory Gate, a pioneer in organic farming.
WÃ¤gnerÂ´s books continue to be studied and enjoyed in Sweden and have been translated into French, German, Dutch, and Russian. She never succeeded in her lifetime, however, to realize her great desire to see her works appear in English. These translations in Stockholm Stories now introduce them to the wider audience they deserve.
In the early 1900s four educated unmarried young w
PUBLICATION DATE: 5/1/2002
CATEGORY: Literary Collections