Tommy Olofsson

Tommy Olofsson

Professor emeritus Save contact Download image

Tommy Olofsson is an author and a literary critic as well as a Professor emeritus of Creative Writing. He made his debut as a poet in 1970 and has since published twelve collections of poetry, most recently Attack mot intigheten (2009). His poetry has been translated into a dozen languages and published in separate volumes in two languages, English and Polish. A selection of his poetry, Elemental Poems, was published 1991 in the U.S., translated by Jean E. Pearson.

For more than three decades (1981–2012) he worked as a critic for Svenska Dagbladet. He has also worked as a translator: a novel by James Joyce, and collections of poetry by John Ashbery, Susan Weil and Ko Un. Most prominent within this field of expertise was his effort as a translator and linguistic expert in The Bible Commission, 1988–2000, as part of a group which produced a new and now authorized translation of the Old Testament, included in the official Swedish Bible.

He received his Doctor’s Degree in Comparative literature in 1981. His thesis, entitled Frigörelse eller sammanbrott? Stephen Dedalus, Martin Birck och psykologin (”Liberation or Breakdown? Stephen Dedalus, Martin Birck and Psychology”), discusses the tradition of the Bildungs- and Entwicklungsroman, and the psychology of creativity. His main focus is on authors such as James Joyce and Hjalmar Söderberg. The chapter on Joyce has later been translated into English and is part of Nordic Rejoycings (1982). Olofsson’s anthology Joyce i Sverige (1986) includes studies of Joyce’s personal relation to the Swedish language and his influence on a number of Swedish authors.

In 2006 he published a book on Esaias Tegnér (1782–1846), and now he is involved in research on even older literature, mainly the Medieval Scandinavian ballad. With Gunilla Byrman he has written a book about Medieval jocular ballads, Om kvinnligt och manligt och annat konstigt i medeltida skämtballader (2011) – "On femininity and masculinity and other oddities in Medieval jocular ballads". With Sigurd Kværndrup he has also written a book about intermedial relations between Medieval Nordic church paintings and ballads, Medeltiden i ord och bild (2013) – "The Middle Ages in words and pictures".


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