A Reader’s Guide to Dag Hammarskjöld’s ‘Markings’

Publication details

Title:A Reader’s Guide to Dag Hammarskjöld’s ‘Markings’
Type:About Dag Hammarskjöld

Readers' guideDag Hammarskjöld’s posthumously discovered journal was first published in 1963. The original manuscript consists of a collection of brief typewritten statements placed in a loose leaf folder. Hammarskjöld, it appears, from time to time typed out his journal entries and placed them in the folder. Nothing indicates that he considered the journal completed, or that he was not intending to continue it.

Though Dag Hammarskjöld’s  journal has been widely sold and is now being called “a modern spiritual classic”, many who have found in the book inspiring meditations have been puzzled by other passages. As a result some have placed the book on the shelf after a partial initial reading and thereafter rarely consulted it. It is to help such readers rediscover the journal and to introduce new readers to this important text that this reader’s guide has been written.

This translation of the manuscript is called “Waymarks,” which is a literal translation of Vägmärken. While “waymark” is not a common English word, it is to be found in unabridged dictionaries. A reason for literal translation at this point is that it introduces “way” into the title. Hammarskjöld has much more to say about “the way” than about the marks or markings he makes along that way.