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The Swedish

John Cowper Powys Society

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John Cowper Powys
in Swedish


In Swedish

Newsletter no. 9:


An Interview with Sven Erik Täckmark

”Life Begins After The Nineties”


We are approaching Katarinagården at the South of Stockholm with high expectations. Gunnar Lundin and I will meet Sven Erik Täckmark, 90 years old. He wants to see us because of the coming Swedish edition of The Autobiography by John Cowper Powys.


                      You cannot mistake the Christmas atmosphere in his new home since a year. The good care reflects the good feelings among the caretakers and the staff. Sven Erik lives in a room with kitchenette and possibilities  to make a nice cup of tea. At the bedside table you find a pile of books from the library.


Håkan Stockhaus (H): How does it feel that your translation, in cooperation with Mikael Nydahl, is scheduled to be published during 2007?

Sven Erik Täckmark (SE): Incredible! Incredible! I can hardly believe it.

H:  What is at stake now is the final revision of the text and all the formal work together with Mikael Nydahl and his publishing house, Ariel.

SE: That’ll be the day…

H: What did you think of the work with the autobiography?

SE: Nice. It is so easy and nice to treat.

H: How much time did it take?

SE: A year. It was fun and enriching, I remember. You must be aware of that this is a remarkable text, the master piece of JCP.

H: You often promote The Meaning of Culture and its literary value.

SE: Yes, and not at least at a personal level for me. I read it as early as 1935, and it still is of importance for me. You know it opened all doors for me, and showed me the way to a new, unexpected world.  It is still magic. It is the most important book I’ve ever read. It gave me everything. You can’t stress that enough.


We have a little break while the nurses arrive with some coffee and biscuits. Sven Eric smiles at the situation and continues: They say that life begins at Ninety.  I really enjoy being here and would not like to be elsewhere.


Gunnar Lundin (G): You seem to be in good shape and you have a good reading capacity. And you are intellectually impressing. So I see what you mean. What are you reading right now?

SE: I am reading the autobiography in German. German is an excellent language for literature. It is sadly underestimated today. But I am also reading Thomas Mann: Felix Krull, and a volume on Voltaire,; Philosophy for the Pocket.

SE: By the way, how did it all turn out with the translation of A Philosophy of Solitude? Did it sell?

G: Yes, indeed it did. It was a success and had a good reception.


Right outside Sven Erik’s window you can see some statuary juniper trees that form a nice demarcation. Close to them there is a little Japanese fountain; the purl of water together with the beautiful flowers will grace the visitor in summertime.


Before we say good bye to Sven Erik this time he asks us to send a message to the members of the Society.

SE: I hope that the Society will continue the good work and spread the knowledge of Powys’s literature. Your commitment is a pleasure for more people than me. Enjoy and endure!


Håkan Stockhaus



This page updated 4 April 2012.