Per Wästberg | Granta

Per Wästberg

Per Wästberg is Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature. He founded the Swedish Section of Amnesty International in 1963 and was deeply involved in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. From 1976 to 1982 he was the editor of Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. He was president of International PEN from 1979 to 1986. He is the author of fifty publications, including novels, poetry, essays and works on African politics and literature.


The Journey Of Anders Sparrman

Per Wästberg

Translated by Tom Geddes

I have spent too long on plants and animals. Now it is time for human beings.

This haunting novel is based on the life of Anders Sparrman, the eighteenth-century naturalist and disciple of the pioneering classifier Carl Linnaeus. Despite his humble beginnings, Sparrman joined Captain Cook on his second voyage to Antarctica and Tahiti and later made an unprecedented journey to South Africa. What he saw on these explorations made him a dedicated scientist and abolitionist, but it was not until he returned home to Sweden that a love affair dispelled the loneliness that had haunted him. In this magical, poetic novel, set between the end of the Enlightenment and the dawn of Romanticism, Wästberg’s narrative combines intellectual precision with real emotional power.