Dvärgen MOBI â Paperback

I have noticed that sometimes I frighten people what they really fear is themselves They think it is I who scare them but it is the dwarf within them the ape faced manlike being who sticks up his head from the depths of their soulsPär Lagerkvist's richly philosophical novel The Dwarf is an exploration of individual and social identity The novel set in a time when Italian towns feuded over the outcome of the last feud centers on a social outcast the court dwarf Piccoline From his special vantage point Piccoline comments on the court's prurience and on political intrigue as the town is gripped by a siege Gradually Piccoline is drawn deeper and deeper into the conflict and he inspires fear and hate around him as he grows to represent the fascination of the masses with violence

10 thoughts on “Dvärgen

  1. says:

    Look on my works ye mighty and despair Anno Diaboli 1944 Pär Lagerkvist wrote a tale of destruction and pain a study in hatred and hubrisSet at a splendid powerful court in Renaissance Italy it shows human culture and civilisation in its most exquisite form Led by a charismatic and strong prince the courtiers live a life filled with festivities art science fashion and sexual adventures The court artist is a thinly veiled portrait of Renaissance genius Leonardo da VinciUnderneath the liberal civilised surface however evil reigns The hateful narrator a court dwarf tells the story of the community from the perspective of the badly treated violently ridiculed and bullied outsider Never part of the homogeneous and privileged caste of courtiers the dwarf secretly nurtures his hatred towards human happiness and pleasure especially in the form of physical love which is denied him due to his different body His feeling of humiliation and inferiority fuels his hatred for humanity and he begins to spin a web of intrigue that leads to disasterSlowly but steadily life in the city dissolves into chaos A disastrous military adventure ends in defeat and an attempt to take back control through a treacherous and murderous trick ends in a siege of the city which causes famine starvation and ultimately plague and death The inner circle of the court is similarly affected by the destruction and the dwarf uses every opportunity to stifle any feeling of love and compassion and to instill hatred and jealousy in the family he serves He leaves a trail of death and despairAs suffering replaces pleasure the dwarf's clever abuse of religious doctrine leads to fanatic belief and self castigation Is the plague a sign of divine punishment? Is the death of a lover caused by sinful sexual liberality? Insanity grief and mourning gain power over all protagonists and they stumble ever deeper into the maelstrom of violent self destruction until they face the ruins of their once beautiful courtThe dwarf confiding to his journal that he is applauding each step deeper into the abyss and celebrating the power he has over the lives of the people he betrays is finally detected and brought to a dungeon where he ends up chained to a wall biding his time waiting for his services to be needed againNothing besides remainsThe allegory on the ugly face of fascism closes with the revitalised people building a new campanile and celebrating a new start after years of death and destruction But the dwarf is still alive and his poisonous tongue is still effectively at work After all he has managed to get his simple minded jailer to bring his journal so he can continue his account of all consuming hatredFascism might have been chained to a dungeon wall in 1945 Lagerkvist seems to reflect but it is not dead and it has not lost its venomous tongue and its will to annihilate whoever celebrates freedom of thought and liberal pleasure in life and artI read this novel many many years ago and it left me puzzled I picked it up again this week as one of my sons is reading it for class and I was stunned at the chilling combination of the flawless perfectly beautiful Swedish prose and the absolute negativity of the message it contains The beauty of culture symbolised in Lagerkvist's language contains the ugliness of fascist thought At the most powerful and civilised court hatred can spread when inequality bullying and social distinctions are the norm When ancient codes of honour guide military action any populist whisperer can cause destruction followed by a flood of refugees and victims of hunger and diseaseBeware of unchained hatredMust read A true Nobel Laureate with an eternally relevant message

  2. says:

    The Dwarf is a strange book both political in its approach but also much deeper than that The best way I think I could describe it is that it's about observation and perception and how a society's collective emotions invariably transfer to even the most silent and optimistic I'm still not a hundred percent sure I understood fully what point the author was trying to make but one thing I can say without a doubt is that this is an intriguing bookIt starts off kind of slow and uneventful seeming to just be a fairly typical story but it soon becomes apparent that its main character has a lot to say about the current world he inhabits Not only does the book have some great quotes but its characters and setting were really captivating and vivid too I ended up really enjoying it and I can definitely see why it's considered a classic

  3. says:

    The Dwarf is a strange little book written by a Swedish Nobel Prize winner some time during WWII It’s a rather allegoric story narrated by a dwarf living on the court in an unnamed Italian city probably in the 15th century but actually all the hints point us in the same direction as Machiavelli’s Prince who was modelled on Cesare Borgia In The Dwarf we also find Master Bernardo who is obviously Leonardo da Vinci and who coincidentally also resided in Cesare Borgia’s court oftenThe plot is rather simple and fable like it consists of war tragic romance and a plague so really all your renaissance staples The twist is our little narrator though He is so unabashedly evil and full of hate for almost everything and everyone that I must admit I found it occasionally laughable The unnamed dwarf finds excitement in conflict and battle It’s only then that he can achieve a state that could be described as happiness He takes no joy in food and finds the idea of sex absolutely repulsive He is the agent provocateur and the catalyst for all the terrible decisions that the Prince and some other characters make He schemes and plots always aiming for the worst possible outcome Of course you don’t need a PhD in literature to figure out that this is all a metaphor for a little dwarf that lives inside all of us That little creature that pushes us to do despicable things for the thrill of it apparently It’s what's little in us that really rules the smallest and pettiest It’s not even the sophisticated kind of Machiavellian evildoing his outbursts are like toddler tantrums – I don’t understand it therefore I hate it and want it gone Generally it’s a rather sad summary of human condition but then it was written when it still looked like Hitler might win so who could blame Lagerkvist for being a little disillusioned with the humanity Personally I found this metaphor rather heavy handed and not particularly original or thought provoking Someone at my book club mentioned that it was quite representative of Swedish or Scandinavian in general fiction not to strive for ambitious symbolism but settle for the very obvious This of course is completely anecdotal so do not argue with me in the comments but apparently it’s perfectly acceptable and apparently lauded even by critics hence the Nobel Prize Having said all that I must admit some of the paragraphs were quite amusing and I wish I could quote them Alas I read the book in its Polish translation and if I translated it to English now we would probably end up with something spectacularly different from what it was originally in Swedish Overall the narrator finds humans confusing and most of the time simply idiotic His observations could be compared to those of a child trying to understand an adult world by herself or an alien trying to make sense of the life of on Earth The Dwarf doesn’t understand why humans are convinced there is some greatness to life he is bemused by how quickly people move between enthusiasm and joy and hopelessness and despair and he is forever baffled by the idea of physical love or any other kind of love for that matter And what he doesn't understand he hates Simple as thatAnd now to wrap it up let me get all PC on you Was I really the only person made slightly uncomfortable by this idea that ‘dwarves’ are some sort different non human species and representing all the evil inside all of us? Yes a metaphor of course But if I were a little person reading this book I think I would be pretty damn pissed off to be the butt of that metaphor This was written during the reign of Hitler and let’s not forget what he had in store for people with disabilities

  4. says:

    May be 4 and half starsI can speak much about this novel That itself is a warning I give to myself For I will be tending to blabber and bore the hell out of the reader So instead let me try to be precise with my observations and impressions by ordering them in neat points1 This is my fifth book by Lagerkvist And unlike the other books the theme of religion is not extensively treated in this one I love Lagerkvist for his thoughts on religion This novel bears some jottings on religion But then when compared with his other works the jottings are bare minimum2 This is a book that contains many allusions3 For instance this book was written when the World War II was at its peak This novel can be seen as an allegory of the World Wars view spoilerThis novel is set in the 15th century Italy probably in Milan or Florence or an imagined place that fuses together Milan Florence where feudalism and factionalism reigned supreme The king of this place is addressed all through the novel as Prince with capital P He has among his many loyal subjectsservants a dwarf who loathes human beings He considers himself a superior being He assumes that he knows the innermost secrets of human beings and especially that of his master the Prince He wages a war with his enemy The war ends up a failure So by deceit he kills the enemy The enemy nation now vows to revenge its leader's death They wage war on the Prince The Prince's army is defeated and everyone fears the day when their city will be attacked Meanwhile many had flood to the capital city seeking refuge The city is under siege The war comes to an end with the onset of the plague hide spoiler

  5. says:

    This sure feels like the type of book I would love incredibly dark misanthropic pseudophilosophical The dwarf Piccoline is one of the most miserably hateful characters I have encountered Yet rather than luxuriating in his own hate and allowing the reader to do the same his evil is a lack of humanity his motivation as utilitarian as the author’s prose Far from the anti hero Underground Man or the delicious villain Iago Piccoline is somehow evil and completely indifferent And perhaps that’s why I felt I couldn’t really sink my teeth into this short novel Personally I love characters that kill kittens commit murders and talk people into offing themselves yet somehow the Dwarf just doesn’t do it for me But maybe it's just me?

  6. says:

    When I saw the Prince looking at me I met his eyes with serenity They were strange Human eyes are sometimes like that a dwarf’s never It was as though everything in his soul had floated to the surface and was watching me and my actions with mingled fear anxiety and desire as though strange monsters had emerged from the depths twisting and turning with their slimy bodies An ancient being like myself never looks like that Very intriguing unique and at times even scandalous There were times when the descriptions of war or certain happenings were a bit too long and made me almost lose my pacing while reading but it was always the dwarf's thoughts so raw and ominous at times even naive that lured me right back in

  7. says:

    This is quite a dark book It's set in Italy in some vague renisance period It is told from the point of view of a dwarf who is a servant in the king's castle The dwarf believes he is of another race not human As such he views humanity as beneath him and struggles to make sense of our morality Is the dwarf evil? Are we all evil? Perhaps the dwarf is that disconnected part of us that views our neighbors dispassionately that steps outside of emotion I liked this It read incredibly fast Also it reminded me of a simplified version of Crime and Punishment

  8. says:

    Bleakly narrated by one of the memorably nihilistic characters in modern literature The Dwarf is a tale of struggles of an Italian medieval city state as it withers from within The plot points war and intrigue could come from any number of other works set in this period and move the story briskly along but the desolate philosophy underlying the action holds a singular fascination and weight Filled with memorable epigrams for a doomed humanity I'm not sure when this was written but published in 1945 it seems apt that its composition seems to have coincided with WWII

  9. says:

    I've never read anything by Lagerkvist but knew he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the early 1950s I was browsing the shelves at my public library and decided to check him out I ddn't know what his other writing is like but this was a really amazing book It's only about 200 pages and his style allows you to breeze through the narrative quickly I would describe the story as something like a fable told from the perspective of a 26 inch dwarf who is something like a fool type character to a Prince during the Renaissance period in Italy If you're interested in the subject of the presence of evil in human nature this is the book for you On the surface it's really a simply told story that teenagers might like but I can't stop thinking about it days later I found it to be a really chilling tale of the dark part of our nature Makes me want to read of this author

  10. says:

    Reminder to self don't be heinous