Alva and Gunnar Myrdal in Sweden and America, 1898–1945
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Alva and Gunnar Myrdal are the only couple ever awarded Nobel prizes as individuals: Gunnar won the prize in Economics in 1974, and Alva won the Peace Prize in 1982. This dual biography examines their work as architects of the modern welfare state and probes the connections between the public and private dimensions of their lives. Drawing on their extensive personal correspondence and diaries between their electrifying first meeting in 1919 and their protracted marital crisis in the early 1940s, this book presents the psychologist and the economist as they sought to combine love and work in an equal partnership. Alva and Gunnar simultaneously experimented with a new kind of intimate relationship and designed the social supports necessary for women both to bear and raise children and to contribute their talents and energies to society. Like all genuine revolutionaries, they struggled to free themselves from the burdens of their upbringings, to evaluate their own actions with what they called "unsparing honesty," and to test their policy recommendations in practice, measuring everything against the values they shared.
Table of Contents
Part I. Alva Reimer and Gunnar Myrdal Chapter 1. Alva: On the Edge of Poverty Chapter 2. Alva: In the Family Crucible Chapter 3. Alva: The Great Hunger Chapter 4, From Kalle Pettersson to Gunnar Myrdal Chapter 5. Gunnar: The Outsider Part II. Romantic Partnership Chapter 6. “Faith is that in which the heart trusts” Chapter 7. “Souls as great as ours” Chapter 8. “How to operate on the heart” Chapter 9. Superman on Walpurgis Night Part III. Gunnar’s Psychological Crisis, 1941 Chapter 10. The Dialectic of Love and Power Chapter 11. Collapse and Catharsis Chapter 12. The Economist’s Dilemma Chapter 13. The Feminist’s Dilemma Part IV. Alva’s Marital Crisis, 1944 Chapter 15. The Biography of the Psyche Chapter 16. Things Left Undone Chapter 17. Independent Woman or Politician’s Wife
Walter A. Jackson began this project shortly after the publication of his Gunnar Myrdal and America’s Conscience (University of North Carolina Press, 1994) and focused on it intensely after the Labour Movement Archives opened the rest of their personal documents to researchers in 2000. He was a Professor of History at North Carolina State University.