Tor Jonsson

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Tor Jonsson (14 May 1916 – 14 January 1951) was a Norwegian author and journalist. Tor Jonsson is known for simple, strongly worded lyric poetry, but his poems stir up conflicts and a sense of loneliness. One senses a strong resistance to the legacy of national romantic spirit in his works.

His birthplace and childhood home was in Boverdal valley in Lom, Oppland, Norway; it is now part of the Lom District Museum. Jonsson lived in great poverty with a sick mother who was nearly helpless. His father also had difficulties and was forced (perhaps unjustly) from the cottage the family lived in; the family lived in poverty. Tor Jonsson’s father died early and Jonsson had, of necessity, to work as a farm and garden laborer, and later as a printer. He had a troubled mind and in his childhood years was considered to be unusually focused, even to the point of becoming obsessed with a topic once he became interested in it. Jonsson was strongly influenced by these younger years, as is evident in his poetry, which conveys a sense of long shadows falling around the author. The radical, intellectual, and energetic Tor Jonsson sought love, but was unsuccessful in achieving this desire, although he was well liked and had many good comrades. He remained bound by the needs of his mother and his sister, who had similar difficulties to his mother’s.

In the years from 1943 through 1948 he wrote several collections of poetry which were published as ”Mogning i mørkret”, ”Berg ved blått vatn” and ”Jarnnetter”. In 1945 he moved beyond farm and garden labor and became a journalist with the ‘’Dølenes Blad’’ just down the valley in Otta. In 1946 he was editor for ‘’Hallingdølen’’ for half a year.

When his mother died, Tor Jonsson left his home town and in 1950 he moved to Oslo. In 1950 his collection of articles, “Nesler,” was published, followed the next year by “Siste stikk”. There he also became obsessively enamored with the journalist Ruth Alvesen, but she did not feel a reciprocal interest. In 1951 Tor Jonsson committed suicide.

He was awarded The Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature posthumously in 1956 in recognition of the enduring character of his work.


  • Mogning i mørkret (lyric poetry) 1943
  • Berg ved blått vatn (lyric poetry) 1946
  • Jarnnetter (lyric poetry) 1948
  • Jul í Bygda (short story) 1949
  • Nesler (articles) 1950
  • Ein dagbok for mitt hjarte (lyric poetry) 1951
  • Siste stikk (one act play) 1951
  • Prosa i samling (prose) 1960
  • Diktning (poems and prose) 1963
  • Og evig er Ordet (lyrikk i utvalg v/Reidar Djupedal) 1970
  • Kvite fuglar (lyrikk i utvalg v/Otto Hageberg) 1978
  • Ved grensa (tekster i utvalg, ill. av Anders Kjær) 1995
  • Blant bygdedyr og vestkantkrokodiller (prosa i utvalg, ved Ingar Sletten Kolloen) 2000


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