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 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.

The Dwarf (Lagerkvist novel) – Wikipedia

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 laagerkvist. You will not soon find another like it. The dwwrf in the Dwarf’s nature is in ours, too–is universal. The Dwarflong considered a masterpiece of modern literature, was first published in Lagerkvist died in Sweden in Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Read more Read less. Discover Prime Book Box for Kids. Add all three to Cart Add all three to List. Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Hunger Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics. Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard. I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle?

Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 41 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This is one of my most favorite novels I read in my childhood, and Par Lageerkvist was one of my most favorite authors.

Par Lagerkvist, a Swedish novelist, won the Nobel PrizeforLiteraturein, so he was a very important novelist on the world’s literary stage.


I read all three about fifty years ago. I read Par Lagerkvist’s two other books which were translated into English as well. The Dwarf “serves his prince” by committing evil deeds.

The dwarf represents the evil inn all of us. It is an extremely powerful parable, of great philosophical import, of significant application to modern time. Known for slim, allegorical novels, and simple, direct language, often reading like a fairy tale, Lagerkvist created one of the most evil and compelling characters in world literature: Lagerkvist’s Dwarf is his warning about any -ism, any ideology.


A Swede commenting on political power should give pause. Sweden, though it has maintained neutrality sinceexhibited what could only be dwaef schizophrenic behavior, for and against both sides of the conflict in World War II. For instance, Sweden allowed the Wehrmacht to use the country’s railways to invade Norway and Finland, yet provided refuge to nearly all of Denmark’s expelled Jews, some Norwegian Jews, and collaborated with Allied air forces by granting then airbase space.

Lagerkcist harbored a teeming Nazi movement remember the first book of the Millennium trilogy?

dwarc Lagerkvist may have been writing The Dwarf with a sense of guilt. Piccoline states at the start of the novel that he is not human; he is a dwarf, an older tribe of life in our world, born misshapen and old at birth. He is a physical aberration, outside of Nature.

For an additional touch, Lagerkvist’s dwarf is a redhead. Redheads, more often than not, have had a bad reputation in history and literature, associated with Judaism, with Barbarossa, Elizabeth I, Judas, Lenin, Malcolm X, Mordred, and Napoleon. Piccoline is not a Diane Arbus oddity.

He is a terrifying figure. Lagerkvist situates the story at an Italian court, in the Renaissance period. The author turned to that period in history because it had created the nascent modern political state and offered a model for political leadership: The Church was still active but declining in prestige and influence.

Both Eliot and D. Lawrence would agree on this point. Secularism was on the rise. The Machiavellian prince had become the model of a good leader because he inspired fear and because he was respected for his gifts of deception and manipulation. Piccoline is lagervkist prince’s right-hand man.

Piccoline lives to serve his prince. The head of State must maintain power. Piccoline is, in essence, a capable bureaucrat, a predecessor of the efficient bureaucrats of the Holocaust. The prince denies culpability and the few times that Piccoline is thought excessive he is punished, but never executed: Piccoline is too good at what lagerkvst does, serving the prince’s purposes.

He’ll go away, spend some time in chains, but then he’ll return, more poisonous and more spiteful than ever.

If Piccoline is evil and the prince employs his service often, then isn’t the prince evil? Aren’t evil acts a political necessity? The Dwarf is a series of journal entries into which the reader is led and, as the Dwarf himself might be pleased to know, sadist that he is, entertained by unthinkable and unspeakable acts of terror and mayhem.

The reader eats it all up, page after page of a sociopath’s adventures. We are bourgeois, consumers of mass culture, lagerkvits its literature. Lagerkvist is illustrating Hermann Broch’s idea of mass psychosis. We have become consumers of graven images and ideas. Hatred consumes Piccoline and we consume him for entertainment. It is a horrible concept.


We accept “consumers” in business language and popular culture without so much as raising an eyebrow. Marketing is the pseudoscience of human desire. Lagerkvist shows that the State and Individual are capable of evil. We condone and justify “necessary murder. We might say that we like to see Good lagerkviet at the end, but the truth is, Evil is far more engaging and entertaining.

Evil is erotic, fantasy, and wish fulfillment. Eliot and modernists would have diagnosed this aesthetic as corrupt and pathological. Vampires and werewolves, for instance, were frightening because they were undead, incapable of final rest.

We have made vampires and werewolves dynastic; we’ve made them misunderstood creatures, full of wisdom, intriguing to us day-walkers. The bald and bat-eared Nosferatu of is the great-great grandfather of Joss Whedon’s Angel and Spike. Good is banal and boring; Evil, dark and enticing. Emily Dickinson, otherwise a cipher, has our ears and rivets us when she talks about Death.

French literature is stuffy and tedious, until Baudelaire shows the reader that Paris is a necropolis, full of decay and decadence. We like serial killers and the pathology of a mind utterly unhinged. We want to hear what Lager,vist Lechter says, as long as he is behind glass. Does Art reflect reality lagerkvits culture? Is this our interior space? Quite simply, the concept of the undead in popular lagervkist is metaphorical.

We are the undead. We are the automatons, the electronic sheep, the sleepwalkers whose sole purpose is to be brand-loyal consumers once we leave the multiplex. Art often unconsciously tells us that the king is naked. We laugh, find a momentary recognition of reality, but we end up dismissing it as entertainment, as fiction. The Matrix informs us that we have been sleeping inside a cocoon.

We come out of the theater and return to the cocoon. There was a reason why George Romero ended Dawn of the Dead in a mall. Literature has had numerous demons. Authors, for artistic purposes, have demonized feminine sexuality, skin color, ethnicity: Catholics as Papists, Jews, Italians, and Poles, but sexuality can be suppressed and ethnicity, hidden. Changing skin color is difficult, but not impossible. A dwarf is undeniable.