Dan Andersson

Dan Andersson

Dan Andersson, 1917.
Born Daniel Andersson
(1888-04-06)6 April 1888
Ludvika, Sweden
Died 16 September 1920(1920-09-16) (aged 32)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Author
Literary movement Naturalism

Dan Andersson (6 April 1888, Ludvika 16 September 1920, Stockholm) [1] was a Swedish author, poet and composer. A nom de plume he sometimes used was Black Jim. Although counted among the Swedish proletarian authors, his works are not limited to that genre.[2]

Early life

Born in Grangärde parish in the province of Dalarna, Andersson grew up under harsh conditions in the village of Skattlösberg. His father Adolf was a primary school teacher there, and his mother Augusta had also taught in the local school. The village lies in the "Finn Woods" of southern Dalarna, where Forest Finns had immigrated to cultivate new land. On his father's side, Andersson descended from these Finnish settlers. Andersson took odd jobs during the first years of his life, for instance as a forestry worker and school teacher. He found it difficult to make a living. The family considered trying to find a better life in the United States, and Andersson was sent there as a 14-year-old in 1902 to see if it would be possible. But he wrote to them, saying that there were no better opportunities there than in Sweden, upon which his father asked him to come home. The family moved from Skattlösberg in 1905, but Andersson returned there to live with his parents and siblings 1911-1915. During this period, he wrote a number of stories and poems. Large parts of his Kolarhistorier and Kolvaktarens visor were probably created during this time. In 1918 Andersson married primary school teacher Olga Turesson, the sister of troubadour Gunnar Turesson.[2]


During the years 1914-1915, Andersson studied at the Brunnsvik folk high school, with, among others, future authors Harry Blomberg and Ragnar Jändel. He was also a good friend of Karl Lärka, who would become a well-known documentary photographer. From this time onwards he was to become active as an author, writing poems and songs about his home region, which are read and sung almost a century later in Swedish homes. Gunde Johansson and Thorstein Bergman are among the best known of his interpreters. Andersson also set some of his lyrics to music — most notably Till min syster ("To My Sister") and Jungman Jansson ("Sailor Jansson") — and played the accordion and violin. He was a co-worker at the Social Democratic newspaper Ny Tid in Gothenburg 1917-1918 and he also translated texts by Rudyard Kipling and Charles Baudelaire into Swedish. Despite his simple upbringing, Andersson was highly educated.[2]


Dan Andersson died in room 11 at Hotel Hellman in Stockholm on 16 September 1920, where he had gone to look for a job at the newspaper Social-Demokraten. The hotel staff had used hydrogen cyanide against bedbugs and hadn't cleared the room as prescribed. At 3 p.m. Andersson was found dead. At the same time, insurance inspector Elliott Eriksson from Bollnäs also died. The hotel was located at Bryggaregatan 5 in Stockholm, but was demolished in the 1960s.[2]

Andersson is buried at Lyviken Cemetery in Ludvika.[2]


Dan Andersson bust in Gothenburg.

Dan Andersson's poetry enjoys a broad popularity among the Swedish people because of its naturalist mysticism and searching for God. In 2005, Sofia Karlsson recorded a new interpretation of Andersson's songs, which received a Grammy award in both Sweden and Denmark, but before then his poems had been sung by a number of artists, including the Hootenanny Singers, Love Explosion and Fred Åkerström. In 1988, at the centenary of Andersson's birth, Posten, the Swedish postal service, published two stamps in his honour. In Ludvika, a Dan Andersson week is celebrated the first week of every August. In Ludvika there is also a Dan Andersson museum, and a statue of him. A bust is also to be found at Järntorget in Gothenburg.[2]

Works in English

His life in English


  1. Dan Andersson britannica.com, 2013. Retrieved: July 31, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dan Andersson. sv.wikipedia.org. Retrieved: June 27, 2013.
  3. Modern Swedish Poetry Pt. 1, trans. by C. D. Locock, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1929).
  4. Modern Swedish Short Stories, trans. by Madeleine Ekenberg, (London: Cape, 1934).
  5. Charcoal Burner’s Ballad and Other Poems by Dan Andersson, trans. by Caroline Schleef, (New York: Fine Editions Press,1943).
  6. Scandinavian Songs and Ballads edited by Martin S. Allwood, (Mullsjö: Anglo-American Center, 1950).
  7. The Last Night in Paindalen by Dan Andersson, trans. by Caroline Schleef, (Galesburg: Wagoner Printing Co., 1958).
  8. Swedish Songs LP, trans. by Fred Lane, (Stockholm: Troll Flute, 1974).
  9. Swedes On Love CD, trans. by Roger Hinchliffe, (Stockholm: Roger Records, 1991).
  10. Dan Andersson in English, trans. by Åke Helgesson, (Hallsberg: Åke Helgesson, 1994).
  11. Poems of Dan Andersson, trans. by Mike McArthur, (Wintringham: Oak Tree Press, 2003).
  12. A History of Swedish Literature by Alrik Gustafson, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1961).
  13. A History of Swedish Literature by Ingemar Algulin, (Stockholm: Swedish Institute, 1989).
  14. A History of Swedish Literature edited by Lars G. Warme, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996).
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