The son of a banker in Örebro, Bergman briefly studied philosophy at Uppsala University but soon broke off his studies and took up the life of a free writer. He married Stina Lindberg, the daughter of actor and stage producer August Lindberg and Augusta Lindberg, and sister of Per Lindberg. Up to his father's death in 1915 Bergman was heavily sponsored by the family patriarch; after the old man died from a stroke it turned out that the family business had become highly indebted and Bergman was forced to start making money out of his writing and court readers in a more outgoing and more entertaining manner. He rose to the challenge and in the following ten years reached the peak of his work.
Much of his output takes place in a small town in mid-Sweden, which is growing into a parallel universe in a Balzacian manner. The shameful secrets of a dozen of interwoven families gradually come out of the closet as the stories grow increasingly symbolic. A pessimistic outlook is always counterbalanced by a grotesque humour - indeed in a book like Markurells i Wadköping the latter almost succeeds in completely shading the former.
After an unsuccessful bout as a manuscript writer in Hollywood Bergman's alcoholism and narcotics abuse took over, from which he died prematurely; his final novel Clownen Jac mirrors his awareness of his drift into self-destruction as well as his belief in the honesty and purpose of artistic spectacle.
- Maria, Jesu moder (1905) (literal translation: Maria, Mother of Jesus)
- Amourer (1910)
- Hans Nåds testamente (1910, His Grace's Will or The Baron's Will, adapted into a film in 1919)
- Marionettspel (1917) (Marionette Plays, includes Mr Sleeman Is Coming)
- En döds memoarer (1918, English translation Memoirs of a Dead Man, trans. Neil Smith, 2007)
- Markurells i Wadköping (1919, God's Orchid. Literal translation: The Markurells in Wadköping)
- Farmor och vår Herre (1921, Thy Rod and Thy Staff. Literal translation: Grandmother and Our Lord)
- Swedenhielms, 1923 (adapted into a film in 1943, "Ein glücklicher Mensch")
- Chefen Fru Ingeborg (1924) (literal translation: The Boss Mrs. Ingeborg)
- Clownen Jac (1930, Jac The Clown)
- Charles XII (1925)
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