The author Göran Schildt (1917-2009)
Göran Schildt's creative production comprises cultural history, the theory of art, essays, journalism, travel books, biographies and fiction. His works are associated with a variety of fields, primarily sailing and the Mediterranean.
Göran Schildt was born in 1917 in Helsinki. Since he was a child he dreamed of becoming a writer as his father Runar Schildt. In his memoirs, Göran Schildt told that he had a crate outside his father's study room where he wrote his first lyrics. Runar Schildt committed suicide when Göran Schildt was only 8 years old.
Since Göran Schildt had private lessons he graduated as a student one year ahead of his classmates. He then traveled to France to learn French. In the autumn 1934 he boarded at a family's house in the Pyrenees and during the spring of 1935 he studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In christmas 1934 he traveled to Mallorca and then for the first time in his life he came in contact with the fizzy Mediterranean. In 1937 Göran Schildt made another important trip to Italy with his friend Georg Henrik von Wright.
Göran Schildt participated in the Winter War of 1939-40 and was badly wounded by an explosive bullet that hit him in the stomach. During the long convalescent period, he decided that if he survives, he will sail down to the Mediterranean by a boat of his own. That dream became true in 1948 together with his first wife Mona Morales-Schildt when the ketch Daphne sailed along the French rivers and canals down to Lavagna. The book "In the Wake of a Wish (1949)" which was about this trip was a great success for Göran Schildt.
As a writer, Göran Schildt is best known for his books about sailing with Daphne. However, it was with the novel "In the Wake of a Wish" he debuted in 1943. Schildt's writing is diverse and includes cultural history, art history, essays, journalism, travel writing, biographies and fiction. His doctoral thesis in art history he wrote about Paul Cézanne. He has also written a book about André Gide that helped Gide receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947. Göran Schildt applied for professorship in art history at the University of Helsinki in 1947. At the last moment he had second thoughts and withdrew the application. Instead he chose sailing and the free life as a writer.
In 1965 Göran Schildt acquired a second home on the Greek island of Leros. Here he came in direct contact with the Greek culture and his sailing boat Daphne got a new home harbour. Today, the restored Daphne is at display in Forum Marinum in Turku.
The friendship between Alvar Aalto and Göran Schildt Schildt began in 1952 when Schildt together with his friend Roberto Sambonet visited Aalto's architectural office in Helsinki. This meeting resulted in a close friendship that lasted until Aalto's death in 1976. Schildt published articles on Aalto's new buildings and after Aalto's death he wrote a biography in four volumes about the architect. As a token of friendship Alvar Aalto offered to design a house for Göran and Christine Schildt in Ekenäs. The house was completed in the 1970. It was in this house that Göran Schildt drew his last breath in 24 March 2009. The house is still in private use.