Ahlin, Lars

Ahlin, Lars

Ahlin, Lars, 1915-, Swedish novelist. Ahlin's works are marked by great creative vitality, psychological realism, and a concern with spiritual values. His first novel, Tåbb med manifestet [Tåbb with the manifesto] (1943), portrays an unemployed man whose growing disenchantment with Communism leads to a spiritual search. Although Ahlin's novel If (1946) was criticized for narrative meandering and excessive religious theorizing, Kanelbiten (1953, tr. Cinnamoncandy, 1990) won him critical acclaim. During the next few decades his literary output declined sharply. The novel Hannibal segraren [Hannibal the conqueror] (1983), which he wrote with Gunnel Ahlin, his wife, was followed by the autobiographical novel Sjätte munnen [the sixth mouth] (1985). His baring of human foibles and self-deceptions and his vision of life as bizarre are reminiscent of Dostoyevsky.
Lars Ahlin (born April 4, 1915 in Sundsvall, Sweden; died March 11 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden) was an award winning Swedish author and aesthetician.

Ahlin left school when he was 13 to support his family, although he later attended several folk high schools. When he was 18, he had a mystical experience. He eventually moved to Stockholm, where he wrote two unpublished novels before his first success, Tåbb med manifestet (Tåbb with the Manifesto, 1943). The story, about a young proletarian who rejects the values of communism in favor of a secularized Lutheran theology where man is judged by his deeds, without preconceived notions, set the stage for his subsequent works. Critics have compared Ahlin to Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Thomas Mann. Among the awards he received are the Prize of the Nine in 1960, the Great Novel Prize in 1962, and the Small Nobel Prize in 1966.

Notable Works

  • Tåbb med manifestet, 1943
  • No Eyes Await Me (story collection), 1944
  • Min död är min (My Death Is My Own), 1945
  • Om (If, About, Around), 1946
  • Kanelbiten (The Cinnamon Girl), 1953
  • The Great Amnesia, 1954
  • Natt i marknadstältet (Night in the Market Tent), 1957
  • Bark and Leaves, 1961
  • Sjätte munnen (The Sixth Mouth), 1985


  • "Ahlin, Lars", Academic American Encyclopedia, 1991 edition, p. 198.
  • "Ahlin, Lars". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007.

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