RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<date part=second>" variable="start_s">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<date part=minute>" variable="start_m">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<date part=hour>" variable="start_t">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <set eval="<countdown seconds since iso=1997-12-01>" variable="surfer_time">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="accept_index is 0">
 | <if variable="accept_index is 0">
Swedish literature (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
nordic flags
The home pages for the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.nordic
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

<< -

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
- >>

Swedish literature

 



Subject: 7.5 

Swedish literature

Swedish writing dates back to 11th-century runic inscriptions, but actual literature originated in the Catholic Middle Ages. Saint Birgitta (1303-1373) wrote her Revelations, which became internationally known, in Latin. Another important work from the 14th century is the Erikskrönikan, which recounts historical events in poetic form. Most medieval Swedish writings served nonliterary purposes, with the exception of the folk ballads.

Gustav Vasa's reformation of the church contributed to a cultural decline in the 16th century. However, of vital importance to the development of the Swedish language were Olaus Petri's Bible translations of 1526 and 1541. Another important 16th century work, although in Latin, was Olaus Magnus' Historia De Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Nordic Peoples, 1523). During this period there also appeared Sweden's first lyric poet, Lars Wivallius. Another significant early poet is Georg Stiernhelm in the 1600's.

Bellman sings

The Age of Freedom

The 18th century, a period of enlightenment, was dominated by prose. Only toward the close of the century, during the reign of Gustaf III, did other genres emerge in the wake of French cultural influence. Noteworthy is Carl Michael Bellman's rococo ballads. Emmanuel Swedenborg's mystical visions influenced many authors and thinkers around Europe and prompted the Swedenborgian religion that still exists.




 

7.5.3 Romanticism and Modernism


RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="tables is 0">
 | <if variable="tables is 0">
Geijer
Erik Gustaf Geijer

Erik Johan Stagnelius's Neoplatonism, Esaias Tegner's and Erik Gustaf Geijer's glorification of the nation's past, and Abraham Viktor Rydberg's idealistic liberalism all reflect the philosophical orientation of Swedish 19th-century romanticism. Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, initially a mystic and romantic, came later to herald new trends of realism in prose works characterized by social awareness. The poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, with his heroic and romantic poetry, had enormous influence in the Swedish speaking literary circles. Runeberg, as well as many other of the important writers of the 18th and 19th century lived in Finland, as for instance Frese and Topelius, and are better covered in section 4.7 of this FAQ.

But the most important figure of the century was, however, August Strindberg (1849-1912), Sweden's greatest writer and the father of modern Swedish drama and fiction. Moving in his later plays from naturalism to dreamlike symbolism, Strindberg fore-shadowed expressionism. A novelist and playwright, he defied social convention by writing dramas of sexual conflict and psychological torment, drawn largely from his personal life. His plays are now esteemed as classics of the modern stage. Important works include e.g the Red Room (Röda Rummet), Olaus Petri and Inferno. With Strindberg a new era was established, the era of the industrialization and urbanization. Strindberg and later authors are still very popular, while earlier (National-Romantic) Swedish authors seems antiquated or alien Strindberg represents the modern society which we still live in.

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="tables is 0">
 | <if variable="tables is 0">
Karlfeldt
Erik Axel Karlfeldt

The socially opinionated prose writers of the 1880s were succeeded by a new wave of romantics, who preferred verse and emphasized the past (Selma Lagerlöf) and the countryside (Erik Axel Karlfeldt - on the right). About 1900, Hjalmar Söderberg published exquisite short stories set in the streets of Stockholm; but the novelists of the next decade favored small-town Sweden. Modernism was introduced in the 1920s by the Finland-Swedish poets Edith Södergran (1892-1923), Gunnar Björling, and Elmer Diktonius, and it was affirmed in Pär Lagerqvist's innovative dramas and Gunnar Ekelöf's surrealistic poetry. A new social class of self-educated country writers entered Sweden's literary world in the 1930s, among them the 1974 Nobel laureates Harry Martinson and Eyvind Johnson.

Sweden managed to avoid the world wars, but its literature from the 1940s (Erik Lindegren, Karl Vennberg) reflects the general postwar depression. The feeling of pessimism and guilt worsened during the following decades because of the Vietnam War and Third World problems. An intense questioning of literature's social function and a mistrust of language found many literary expressions -- from "new simplicity" and "concreteness" in poetry, to documentaries in prose, but the stories of Astrid Lindgren stand out with their delighting humor and humanity. Swedish literature of the end of the 1970s was characterized by a new trust in the word and a new delight in traditional fiction writing.

After the second world war popular authors as Vilhelm Moberg (1898-1973), Astrid Lindgren and Jan Guillou has taken part also in the political debate. Still in the mid-1990:ies Astrid Lindgren in her high age appears in radio as an defender of vulnerable children and animals, as for instance for a 11 years old girl threatened by deportation after eight years in Sweden.

For electronic versions of some of the works of Nordic literature, see the collection of Project Runeberg:

Biographical and bibliographical data are given also in English for a few of the Nordic authors.



RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if variable="print is 1">
- Is the text above really reliable?
- See the discussion in section 1.2.2!
<< -
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
 | <else>
Sweden - >>

© Copyright 1994-2001 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated October the 27th in the year of 1998.

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">

RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <if variable="print is 1">
 | <if not="not" variable="print is 1">
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <insert variable="start_t">
&scn_m0=
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <insert variable="start_m">
&scn_s0=
RXML parse error: No current scope.
 | <insert variable="start_s">
&scn_y=2022&scn_m=8&scn_d=15&scn_f=/nordic/scn/faq75.html&scn_r=">