• Sweden's news in English
 

Mushroom mix-up taints Swedish Academy

Published: 04 Dec 2012 15:50 GMT+01:00

The row took off after a Chinese translation of a poem written by last year's literature prize winner.

Chinese writer Li Li's version of a Tomas Tranströmer poem replaced the word "chanterelle", a popular mushroom in Sweden, with the word "caramel".

After Swedish academy member Göran Malmqvist, 88, criticized the translation, Li published a poem on his blog which Malmqvist became convinced was a personal attack.

The poem, addressed to a young woman married to a much older man, likens the wife to a whore and the husband to a toad.

"What discipline it must require to each day subject your tender skin to the toad's bite," the poem reads.

Malmqvist, whose wife is 43 years younger than he is, was not too pleased.

"He is an evil person. I will annihilate him, like you crush a louse with your thumbnail," he wrote to his academy colleague Per Wästberg, 76.

In the email exchange made public by Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, Wästberg gives his colleague "his blessing" to annihilate Li.

Li Li, 51, denies the poem targets Malmqvist.

He told Aftonbladet that the poem addressed the wider phenomenon of young women marrying older men.

"This is a hot topic in China. Rich old men who have several young women," he said.

He had little sympathy for Malmqvist's reaction.

"I am shocked and feel threatened. This damages the Swedish Academy's reputation in China. I've spoken to many Chinese colleagues and everyone is upset about how they are behaving," he told Aftonbladet.

As for the translation debate that seems to have kickstarted the argument, Li explained he changed words for it to make sense in the context.

"I swapped the word "chanterelle" in Tranströmer's poem because no one knows what a chanterelle is in China. A "caramel" made perfect sense in the context."

The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

20:38 December 4, 2012 by Emerentia
"Li Li, 51, denies the poem targets Malmström" Malmström? His name is Malmqvist.

How did the tabloid Aftonbladet get hold of Göran Malmqvists and Per Wästbergs personal mail to each other? Should't things one write to ones friends be private? What you write on a blog is one thing, but what you write in your mail, to your friends should be brought up in the news papers.
08:31 December 5, 2012 by e1zorro
"How did the tabloid Aftonbladet get hold of Göran Malmqvists and Per Wästbergs personal mail to each other?"

Now where did I put Lord Leveson...
10:56 December 5, 2012 by Youdee
Sounds like they're sitting in a sandbox and fighting over who can make the best batch of guerilla cookies or rocky road ice cream (i.e., poet, critic, committee member, and particularly the journalists). What a mess.
Today's headlines
Måns Zelmerlöw returns to hero's welcome
Måns Zelmerlöw is greeted by happy fans at Arlanda. Photo: Jessica Gow / TT

Måns Zelmerlöw returns to hero's welcome

Sweden's Eurovision 2015 winner arrives back in Stockholm to be met by delirious crowds READ  

Swedish woman shot dead in Istanbul
Istanbul photo: Shutterstock

Swedish woman shot dead in Istanbul

The woman from Götaland became caught up in a gun-fight on Saturday night, according to the Swedish Foreign Ministry. READ  

Stockholm gold store hit by masked raiders
Police outside the Kista Galleria in northern Stockholm on Sunday. Christine Olsson / TT

Stockholm gold store hit by masked raiders

A gold shop in a mall in Kista in northern Stockholm has been robbed by several masked men. The robbers beat staff, grabbed gold and then fled in a car. READ  

'Rape worse in Sweden than India', says Gandhi
Stop rape photo: Shutterstock

'Rape worse in Sweden than India', says Gandhi

India's women's minister Maneka Gandhi says that Sweden has worse problems with rape than India. READ  

How the world reacted to Sweden's Eurovision win
Måns Zelmerlöw celebrates his victory. Photo: Jessica Gow / TT / Kod 10070

How the world reacted to Sweden's Eurovision win

The world's press were - more or less - united in their praise for Måns Zelmerlöw's Heroes, Sweden's winning entry in this year's Eurovision READ  

Stockholm beggars hit in firecracker attacks
A person unrelated to the story begging in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Stockholm beggars hit in firecracker attacks

A beggar outside a Stockholm supermarket was targeted with a firecracker on Saturday, one of a spate of similar attacks. READ  

Hollywood stars join Stockholm Gumballers
Photo: TT

Hollywood stars join Stockholm Gumballers

The 17th Gumball rally starts in Stockholm on Sunday and among the more famous participants in their luxury rides are Hollywood notables Dolph Lundgren and David Hasselhoff. READ  

Armless man denied disabled parking spot
Photo: Magnus Manske/Wikipedia

Armless man denied disabled parking spot

A Swedish man has had his disabled parking permit revoked despite lacking both arms and thus unable to pay for a ticket. READ  

Armed robbers attack Stockholm money truck
Police investigating a previous raid in 2013. Photo: TT

Armed robbers attack Stockholm money truck

Police in the Swedish capital are investigating a raid on a van transporting cash in the city, with at least two robbers suspected to have made off with a bag of money. READ  

Swedes among least likely to die from cold
A woman stuck in snow in Malmö during the winter. Photo: TT

Swedes among least likely to die from cold

Cold weather kills 20 times more people as hot weather, according to a new global study, but despite Sweden's harsh climate its inhabitants are less likely to die in chilly temperatures than Brits, Spaniards or Italians. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How two million Swedes are designing a 'house of clicks'
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Sponsored Article
Kristin Amparo: 'Swedes are afraid to be proud'
National
Five facts you need to know about Sweden's Eurovision entry
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: Nine questions every expat should ask
Blog updates

22 May

Editor’s blog, May 22nd (The Local Sweden) »

"Greetings from Stockholm, The hot topic in Europe this week is whether or not the UK will..." READ »

 

8 May

 (Joel Sherwood) »

"Daycare called today. They ordered me to drop all activities and come pick up my child...." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
What it's like to be a student in Malmö
National
Why do one in three Swedes want to join Nato?
Sponsored Article
'No one tells expats about unemployment benefits'
Features
What to do in Stockholm this summer
Sponsored Article
Why expat women are choosing Swedish natural birth control
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th
National
How Sweden and Saudi Arabia got back on speaking term after row
Gallery
Property of the week: Västra hamnen, Malmö
Sponsored Article
'There is no such thing as Swedish values'
National
Why is support for the Sweden Democrats at a record high?
Sponsored Article
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world
Gallery
People-watching: May 15th - 17th
National
VIDEO: Swedish man's roar scares off charging bear
National
'Gang conflict' linked to latest Gothenburg attack
National
RECIPE: How to make Panna cotta with cloudberry jam
Sponsored Article
'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Your May sun snaps
National
Sweden backs migrant sharing plan
National
Swedish boozing on the rise
National
Why Sweden's deputy PM was forced to apologize for Auschwitz analogy
National
End of the road for Julian Assange's arrest appeal?
Features
Booked to go to one of Sweden's sizzling music festivals yet?
National
Is Avicii set to play at Sweden's royal wedding?
National
Meet the Swedish boy who used to be a girl
Sponsored Article
How to change the world: Malmö to Mogadishu
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why is obesity ballooning in Sweden?
National
VIDEO: The bizarre Swedish nurses song that's gone viral
National
Ecuador stray dog Arthur in Swedish charity race
National
UK expert: 'Sweden's current military state is alarming'
National
Elfdalian: a real language spoken in central Sweden in 2015
National
Is King's love for house tracks behind new military music?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hjortnäs, Leksand
National
Sex-crazed grouse terrorizes Swedes
National
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King Carl XVI turns 69
National
Dolphins spotted in Baltic
Gallery
People-watching: May 1st-3rd
Sponsored Article
'Never waste a good crisis'
National
Road trippers flock to 'The Bridge'
National
Why are Swedish supermarkets banning paracetamol pills?
Gallery
People watching: April 29th
National
"In many ways Swedes and Americans are kindred spirits"
Politics
Did you know four Swedish party leaders are women?
National
Swedish rescue team stuck on way to Nepal quake zone
National
Why Sweden's brown bear population is in danger
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Forshaga
National
Here's how a Swede became the world's boxing champion
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,336
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se