Friday, September 12, 2008

The Parland Archives

I learned a whole lot from the Parland archives. I'll include some random stuff here.

The archives are full of letters from Björling. Countless letters. And most of them plead and plead with Henry to be more kind to him and, repeatedly, "honest." Reading these letters it's hard not to conclude that they were more than friends, but for some reason Scandinavian scholars do not seem to want to talk about that.

Here's how one letter from Björling (1929) begins: "I had so wanted to talk to you and that you wanted to talk to me. It devastates me that you do not find reason to see me. You are so frequently dishonest to me and to yourself. And when others are around you feel the need to be fake, deceitful, lying, untrue. - Why not speak simply and honestly? Our smiles do not lie..."

But it was not all sex on my mind when I was reading through the letters and such. I also found out such gems as:

Joan Crawford is a "great actress".

John Mays movie "Asphalt" is one of the greatest Hollywood movies.

Sven Grönvall and Parland seemed to use the word "dada" to mean not just literature but also "everything is OK": as in "everything is dada". Which I think is brilliant.

Björling couldn't understand why Parland liked rhymed poetry.

Parland thought the seminal Dada journal Der Querschnitt was "boring."

Parland's dad thought Björling was a "parasite" and that his son had "sold" himself to Björling, who had "infected" his son with "spiritual degeneracy."

Parland's letters are full of "poems" the way Dickinson is full of poems:

Hawaii tonight at 8 (?).
Come to the People's House.
I'll take care of the tickets.


I still fight my finances. They seem to be independent of political borders, just as damned and undefeatable everywhere.


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