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Markingsby Dag Hammarskjold
Synopses & Reviews
Dag Hammarskjold left behind the manuscript of this book to be published after his death. It is a remarkable record of the spiritual life of a man whose public image was universally known and admired — a record that reveals the extent of his commitment to the Way of the Cross.
Hammarskjold himself described the manuscript as a "sort of white book concerning my negotiations with myself and with God." The first entry is a poem written about 1925; the notes made during the 1940's and 1950's reflect a period of constant spiritual growth, self-questioning, and resolution; and the book ends with a poem he wrote only a few weeks before his death.
In Markings Hammarskjold felt that he gave the only true profile of himself. Lacking as it does any reference to the external world, the book constitutes only haft a portrait, as W. H. Auden points out in his Foreword. But as we read it, the outer image of the Secretary-General persists and heightens the sense of loneliness Hammarskjold conveys, the severity with which he marked his own spiritual conduct and measured the integrity of his soul, his conception of life as a summons, and his premonition of death.
Many will read this book primarily as a unique historical document; many will find in its meditations an unusual devotional book. But, above all, almost every reader is bound to feel, with Auden, that he has had "the privilege of being in contact with a great, good, and lovable man."
About the Author
Dag Hammarskjold was born in Jonkoping, Sweden, in 1905, and died near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, on September 18, 1961, in an air crash while flying there to negotiate a cease-fire between United Nations and Katanga forces.The son of the Swedish prime minister during World War I, Hammarskjold studied law and economics at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm. He quickly gained prominence in his own country as secretary and then chairman of the board of governors of the Bank of Sweden; he was undersecretary of the Swedish department of finance from 1936 to 1945. In 1946 he entered the foreign ministry as financial adviser and became chief Swedish delegate to the OEEC in 1948. In 1951 he was the vice chairman of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations, in 1952 he was chairman, and in 1953 he was elected Secretary-General and re-elected in 1957.Widely read in literature and philosophy, Dag Hammarskjold translated the poetry of St.-John Perse into Swedish. He was made a member of the Swedish Academy in 1954.
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