Pär Lagerkvist, playwright, poet, essayist, and novelist, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in The Dwarf, long considered a masterpiece of modern. Complete summary of Pär Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Dwarf. Analysis and discussion of characters in Pär Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf.
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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 souls.
The novel, set in a time when “I have noticed that sometimes I frighten people; what they really fear is themselves. 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.
Paperbackpages. Published January 1st by Hill and Wang first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Dwarfplease sign up. Lists with This Book. View all 10 comments. Jun 24, Lisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Set 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 Vinci.
Underneath t “Look on my works ye mighty and despair! Underneath 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 disaster. Slowly 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 despair. As 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 lagermvist, until they face the ruins of their once beautiful court.
The dwarf, confiding to his journal that he is applauding each step kagerkvist 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 again. But the dwarf is still alive, and his poisonous tongue is still effectively pr work.
After all, he has managed lagerkivst get his simple-minded jailer to bring his journal, so he can continue his account of all-consuming hatred. Fascism might have been chained to a dungeon wall inLagerkvist 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 art. I 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 disease. Beware of unchained hatred! A true Nobel Lageerkvist with an eternally relevant message. View all 11 comments. Sep 26, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Dwarf dwraf 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 book. It starts off kind of slow and uneventful, seem The Dwarf is a strange book, both political in its approach but also much deeper than that.
It 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. Apr 19, Kinga rated it liked lxgerkvist.
The 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.
He takes no joy in food and finds the idea of sex absolutely repulsive. He is the agent provocateur and lagerkviist 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.
That little creature that pushes us to do despicable things for the thrill of it apparently.
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.
Having said all that, I must admit some of the paragraphs were quite amusing and I wish I could quote them.
The Dwarf (Lagerkvist novel) – Wikipedia
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 lagerkvisg an adult world by herself or an alien trying to make sense of the life of on Earth. And what he doesn’t understand, he hates. And now, to wrap it up, let me get all PC on you.
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.
View all 4 comments. Como responder a tais perguntas? View all 5 comments. Breve e molto bello. View all 12 comments.
May be 4 and half stars. I can speak much about this novel. That itself is a warning I give to myself. For I will be lagerkvits 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 points. This is my fifth book by Lagerkvist.
THE DWARF by Par Lagerkvist | Kirkus Reviews
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 minimum. This is a book that contains many allusions. For instance, this lagedkvist was written when the World War II was at its peak. This novel can be seen as an allegory of the World Wars. The king of this place is addressed all through the novel as Prince with capital P. He considers himself a superior being. He assumes that he lagerkvisy 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.