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Book review: the two stars which fell heavily in the middle in order to

A pilsnerfilm! When the Stig Ahlgren assessed Ingmar Bergman's reel ”Sommarnattens leende” he made the process short, but made clear nevertheless fully reasonable opinion with the words, ”the first-tier ädelpekoral”. The readers had, as usual, quite fun. Bergman was not unexpected, hysterical.

Younger readers, who do not know more about Ahlgren than that, he lowered the Sten Selander with the verbal torpedo ”dull as a embarking in Alvesta”, may possibly be attracted by another thing, printed in 1938, when Ahlgren was still a marxist: ”A bourgeois writer never says ’class’; he is looking for ersättningsord. Race and gender can serve as such.”

the time, but already one of the country's most powerful critics, arbetarlitteraturens foremost interpreter, famed and feared for his sharp pen. To hang someone in silence, he considered to be Gestapofasoner. Good maybe for those who want to avoid blood on the cuffs, otherwise not. He wrote:

”A writer should always enjoy the noble privilege to be executed with the sword, at full daylight and in the presence of all the people. On the halshuggne often grow out of a new and better head for next year, but the hanged man can be cracked for life.”

Vimplarna clatter in the wind. Public executions have notoriously always been a joke.

So let's rack Ulrika Milles book ”lone wolves”, whose equally long as the unfortunate sub-title is ”the Stig Ahlgren 1900s. Manhood. Love. Literature.” What is the meaning? To Stig Ahlgren was a solitaire is well known. Why, then, the wolves in the plural? Only later you understand He idea was to write about Ahlgren, however, that Birgit Tengroth broke into the story and took over.

in the picture. A stylish bride, right behind Stig, who was known for his unfavorable external. Reduced makes me almost to the feminist. Milles writes itself: ”the Public is a risky place where the conditions are different for men and women, where a man may be ugly if he is dangerous, but a woman will be dangerous if she suddenly becomes ugly.”

”lone wolves” is thus a dubbelbiografi. We should be thankful for.

The author of the biography tries to almost always understand something else, usually himself, and here He admirably clear when she confesses her case, which is ”a painful request to study förgängelsens mechanisms.” The odd couple Ahlgren & Tengroth has fallen into oblivion. Why?

His career first. Already as a student in Lund was sucked into his the radical circuits and sailed during the 30-ies up like a star in newspapers, mainly in the movement's newspapers. Eyvind Johnson, Karin Boye, Ivar Lo, Moberg, Harry and Moa Martinson, all became his friends, and soon, he was director of cultural affairs at the Aftontidningen in Stockholm, flanked by Karl Vennberg and Erik Lindegren.

At the beginning of the war, before Stalingrad, there occurred, however, a fateful event. Ahlgren, who had an unerring ability to go against the stream, attacked the Torgny Segerstedts defense of freedom of the press. Both were come near each other, but Ahlgren saw Segerstedt as a borgarbracka whose self-righteous criticism of Hitler was able to do the working class to cannon fodder.

convoluted than that and depicted initiated by Milles in what looks like a äreräddning. Similarly, the aftermaths of the well-described, when Ahlgren lose many friends and Segerstedt elevated to a spotless saint.

At the same time, he ends up on the Aftontidningen and go to a service as the editor-in-chief of the borgerlighetens intellectual alibi Weekly-Journal. It was the salary that attracted? Or would he just go to work as director of cultural affairs at the DN? No one knows. In all events, he had then already married with Birgit Tengroth. It was in 1944. He was 33 and she was 28. Which pair! Money. Glory. All.

Also, her path had so far been brilliant. As an actress she was a star of Greta Garbo's caliber, with a long line of film roles behind him, but the price for life in the limelight had been high. She was on the way down from the stage and wrote so skandalboken ”Thirst” (1948) on ”abortion, rape, gay, bisexual, or lesbian attraction, the shame of being beaten, blåmärkt and consumed.”

They lived in an apartment at Floragatan, soon in a villa on the island of Djurgården, and for the gossip columns was the wrapping material. Beauty and the beast. When they divorced. She married the Danish politician Jens Otto Krag, later prime minister, which led to even more humiliation, and soon enough even a divorce. Add to this the incapacitating cervical cancer.

Birgit Tengroth was yet young, but a wreck – who moved home to Stockholm again, and the Stig. They were never about himself, but lived together until her death in 1983. She would write many, fierce, shameless, autobiographical novels, now forgotten. Not even knytblusflocken care.

And he? Yes, enough that he was still a respected, feared name, and would remain so for a long time, but Olof Lagercrantz got the job on DN and Gustaf von Platen took over the Weekly Journal.

Stig Ahlgren ended up as freelance. The last article was printed in the Swedish newspaper svenska Dagbladet, shortly after the Tengroths death. A radiokrönika on the flycatcher. And butterflies! From that day on, he would devote the whole 13 years to drink themselves to death. Femrummaren at Narvavägen was long ago laid off, and the 20 000 books scattered. He lived in a cottage in Ösmo. The literary estate testamenterades to home care.

Not a flower at the funeral. Gone.

me very deeply. Towards the end, then it is directly painful. Seen as a love story, the story is both mystical and magnificent, but the long descent from mount parnassus to hell is not for sensitive readers.

”lone wolves” are, with Milles own words, a story about the public as a house of sacrifice. A sad story, then as now. The material is great and the boundaries difficult, but the result is good enough and in spite of blytyngden well used – fortunately at a safe distance from Alvesta Central station.

Read an excerpt from Ulrika Milles new book ”lone wolves”

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