The University of Wisconsin Press

Fiction / Scandinavian Literature


Karin Boye
Translated by Gustaf Lannestock;
Introduction by Richard B. Vowles

Library of World Fiction

This classic Swedish novel envisioned a future of drab terror. Seen through the eyes of idealistic scientist Leo Kall, Kallocain's depiction of a totalitarian world state is a montage of what novelist Karin Boye had seen or sensed in 1930s Russia and Germany. Its central idea grew from the rumors of truth drugs that ensured the subservience of every citizen to the state.

"A fascinating novel of the 1984 and Brave New World genre."—Library Journal

"Despite the robot-like characteristics of the fellow-soldiers in Boye's nightmare city, she expresses her poetic genius in the use of symbols and imagery."—Signe A. Rooth, Scandinavian Studies

Karin Boye (1900–1941) was a Swedish poet and novelist whose suicide in 1941 amid the shambles of a war-racked Europe reflects the fate of a whole generation of writers. Her first novel, Astarte, appeared in 1931.

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The cover of Kallocain is tan, featuring a drawing of a doctor's needle in the center.

April 2002

220 pp.  6 x 9

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