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Barabbas [RARE first Swedish edition, Inscribed / Underskrivet in Swedish and Signed / Ingraverat by Par Lagerkvist]
Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag, 1950. First printing. Wrappers. Fine/very good. A Fine copy of the first edition, first printing, in the Publisher's original wrappers (light pushing to the spine ends and wrapper edges, tiny edge tear to leading edge of rear wrapper), in a Very Good dust jacket (some short closed splits at the folds, spine ends chipped, small chip to top of front wrapper, light edge wear), housed in a Near Fine custom marbled cardboard slipcase and INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY PAR LAGERKVIST on the front free endpaper as follows: "Till smålänningen Gillis Pettersson / från smålänningen / Pär Lagerkvist". [Translated to English, the inscription reads: "To the smålander Gillis Pettersson / from the smålander / Pär Lagerkvist". Småland is a historical province in southern Sweden, and the novel's text is in Swedish.] Elected in 1940 as one of the 18 "Immortals" of the Swedish Academy, Par Lagerkvist was as highly influential writer from his twenties into his seventies and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1951 "for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavors in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind". In his Presentation speech, Anders Österling, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, specifically cited Barabbas as one of Lagerkvist's major and most emblematic works, stating that "while Pär Lagerkvist makes use of different genres, dramatic or lyric, epic or satiric, his way of grasping reality remains fundamentally the same. ...each work plays the role of a stone in an edifice he intends to build; each is a part of his mission, a mission that always bears on the same subject: the misery and grandeur of what is human, the slavery to which earthly life condemns us, and the heroic struggle of the spirit for its liberation. This is the theme in all the works we choose to recall at this time: Gäst hos verkligheten (1925) [Guest of Reality]; Hjärtats sånger (1926) [Songs from the Heart]; Han som fick leva om sitt liv (1928) [He Who Lived His Life Over Again]; Dvärgen (1944) [The Dwarf]; Barabbas (1950). It is needless to cite others to give an idea of the scope of Lagerkvist's inspirations and the power of his genius." Lagerkvist's Barabbas gives a somewhat fictionalized account of Barabbas, the violent Jewish insurrectionist who, at the behest of the gathered crowd, was freed by Pontius Pilot (then the Prefect of the Roman Province, Judaea) in lieu of the innocent Jesus. Through Barabbas, Lagerkvist explores the fundamental question of good and evil. Quite well received, the novel immediately was described by many, including Andre Gide, as a masterpiece and the book provided the basis for the 1962 Dino De Laurentiis film of the same name starring Anthony Quinn as Barabbas, and featuring Arthur Kennedy as Pontius Pilate, Jack Palance as Torvald - the fiercest and most-skilled of the Gladiators, Silvana Mangano, Katy Jurado, Harry Andrews, Ernest Borgnine, and Vittorio Gassman. Though we have not been able to identify Gillis Pettersson, there clearly was at least a geographical affinity between Lagerkvist and Pettersson, and the inscription and signature are the finest we ever have seen from Lagerkvist. Copies of this, the true first edition of Barabbas are quite hard to find, especially when in a condition as nice as is this copy. A rare copy of the true first edition of Nobel Prize Winner Par Lagerkvist's most famous work, a work instrumental in his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY PAR LAGERKVIST. QUITE SCARCE.
      [Bookseller: Allington Antiquarian Books, LLC]
Last Found On: 2013-07-13           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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