Olof Lagercrantz was a poet, translator, critic, debater, journalist (editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter 1960–1975), a brilliant stylist who occupied a unique position of power in Swedish cultural life. Published by Wahlström & Widstrand in 1964, ‘From Hell to Paradise: a book about Dante and his comedy’ was the first non-fiction work awarded the ‘Nordic Council Literature Prize‘, and the first (and only) time that the prize was shared (1965). Lagercrantz’s book is a new type of work in which older works of poetry are approached as if they were written and addressed to the present. According to the evaluation committee,
“From Hell to Paradise” is ‘a critical study of artistic rank, a modern poet’s interpretation of a classic work, which also conveys a personal message.’