Биография Карин Бойе (на английском языке)

Karin Maria Boye (October 26, 1900 – April 24, 1941) was a Swedish poet and novelist.

She was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, and moved with her family to Stockholm in 1909. She studied at the university in Uppsala from 1921 to 1926 and debuted in 1922 with a collection of poems, “Clouds” (Sw. “Moln”). During her time in Uppsala and until 1930, Boye was a member of the socialist group Clarte.

In 1931 Boye, together with Erik Mesterton and Josef Riwkin, founded the poetry magazine Spektrum, introducing T.S. Eliot and the Surrealists to Swedish readers. Together with the critic Erik Mesterton, she translated Eliot’s “The Waste Land”. She was largely responsible for translating the work of T. S. Eliot into Swedish.

Karin Boye is perhaps most famous for her poems, of which the most well-known ought to be “Yes, of course it hurts” (Sw. “Ja visst gör det ont”) and “In motion” (Sw. “I rörelse”) from her collections of poems “The Hearths” (Sw. “Härdarna”), 1927, and “For the tree’s sake” (Sw. “För trädets skull”), 1935. She was also a member of the Swedish literary institution Samfundet De Nio (chair number 6) from 1931 until her death in 1941.

Boye’s novel “Crisis” (Sw. “Kris”) depicts her religious crisis and lesbianism. In her novels “Merit awakens” (Sw. “Merit vaknar”) and “Too little” (Sw. “För lite”) she explores male and female role-playing.

Outside Sweden, her best-known work is probably the novel “Kallocain”. Inspired by the rise of National Socialism in Germany, it was a portrayal of a dystopian society in the vein of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World (though written almost a decade before Nineteen Eighty-Four). In the novel, an idealistic scientist named Leo Kall invents Kallocain, a kind of truth serum.

Later life
Between 1929 and 1934 Boye was married to another Clarté member, Leif Björck. The marriage was apparently a friendship union. In 1932, after separating from her husband, she had a lesbian relationship with Gunnel Bergström, who left her husband, poet Gunnar Ekelöf, for Boye. During a stay in Berlin 1932-1933 she met Margot Hanel, whom she lived with for the rest of her life, and referred to as “her wife”.

Boye died in an apparent suicide when swallowing sleeping-pills after leaving home on April 23, 1941. She was found, according to the police report at the Regional Archives in Gothenburg, on April 27, curled up at a boulder on a hill with a view just north of Alingsås, near Bolltorpsvägen, by a farmer who was going for a walk. The boulder is now a memorial stone. Margot Hanel committed suicide shortly thereafter.

Karin Boye was given two very different epitaphs. The best-known is the poem “Dead amazon” (Sw. “Död amazon”) by the poet Hjalmar Gullberg, in which she is depicted as “Very dark and with large eyes”. Another poem was written by her close friend Ebbe Linde and is entitled “Dead friend” (Sw. “Död kamrat”). Here, she is depicted not as a heroic amazon but as an ordinary human, small and grey in death, released from battles and pain.

In 2004, one of the branches of the Uppsala University Library was named the Karin Boye Library (Karin Boye-biblioteket) in her honour. The literary association Karin Boye-sällskapet (the Karin Boye society) was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to contributing to keeping Karin Boye’s work alive spreading it among new readers.

• Astarte, 1931
• Merit vaknar, 1933
• Kris, 1934
• För lite, 1936
• Kallocain, 1940
Collections of poems:
• Moln, 1922
• Gömda land, 1924
• Härdarna, 1927
• För trädets skull, 1935
• De sju dödssynderna, 1941 (not completed, posthumously published)
• Abenius, Margit. 1965. Karin Boye. Stockholm, Sweden. Bokförlaget Aldus/Bonniers.
• Hammarström, Camilla. 2001. Karin Boye. Stockholm, Sweden. Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur. ISBN 91-27-08935-5.