Swedish Academy

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Swedish Academy
Swedish Academy.svg
MottoSnille och Smak
(Talent and taste)
Formation20 March 1786
Headquarters Stockholm, Sweden
18 members
Permanent Secretary
Anders Olsson (pro tempore)
Website http://www.svenskaakademien.se

The Swedish Academy (Swedish : Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. It has 18 members, who are elected for life. The academy makes the annual decision on who will be the laureate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded in memory of the donor Alfred Nobel.

Swedish language North Germanic language spoken in Sweden

Swedish is a North Germanic language spoken natively by 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden, and in parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to some extent with Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the dialect and accent of the speaker. Both Norwegian and Danish are generally easier for Swedish speakers to read than to listen to because of difference in accent and tone when speaking. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It has the most speakers of the North Germanic languages.

Gustav III of Sweden King of Sweden from 1771 to 1792

Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Queen Louise Ulrika, and a first cousin of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia by reason of their common descent from Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin, and his wife Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach.

The Royal Academies are independent organisations, founded on Royal command, that act to promote the arts, culture, and science in Sweden. The Swedish Academy and Academy of Sciences are also responsible for the selection of Nobel Prize laureates in Literature, Physics, Chemistry, and the Prize in Economic Sciences. Also included in the Royal Academies are three scientific societies that were granted Royal Charters during the 18th century.



The Swedish Academy in Stockholm Svenska-Akademien.jpg
The Swedish Academy in Stockholm

The Swedish Academy was founded in 1786 by King Gustav III. Modelled after the Académie française, it has 18 members. The academy's motto is "Talent and Taste" ("Snille och Smak" in Swedish). The academy's primary purpose is to further the "purity, strength, and sublimity of the Swedish language" ("Svenska Språkets renhet, styrka och höghet") (Walshe, 1965). To that end the academy publishes two dictionaries. [1] The first is a one-volume glossary called Svenska Akademiens ordlista (SAOL). The second is a multi-volume dictionary, edited on principles similar to those of the Oxford English Dictionary , entitled Svenska Akademiens Ordbok (SAOB). The SAOL has reached its 14th edition while the first volume of the SAOB was published in 1898 and, as of 2017, work has progressed to words beginning with the letter "V".

Académie française Pre-eminent council for the French language

The Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is the oldest of the five académies of the institute.

Dictionary collection of words and their meanings

A dictionary, sometimes known as a wordbook, is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically, which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translation, etc. or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, sometimes known as a lexicon. It is a lexicographical reference that shows inter-relationships among the data.

<i>Svenska Akademiens ordlista</i>

Svenska Akademiens ordlista, abbreviated SAOL, is a glossary published every few years by the Swedish Academy. It is a single volume that is considered the final arbiter of Swedish spelling. Traditionally it carries the motto of the Swedish Academy, Snille och Smak, on its blue cloth cover.

The building now known as the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building was built for the bourgeoisie. The bottom floor was used as a trading exchange (this later became the stock exchange), and the upper floor was used for balls, New Year's Eve parties, etc. When the academy was founded, the ballroom was the biggest room in Stockholm that could be heated and thus used in the winter, so the King asked if he could borrow it.

Stockholm Stock Exchange Building building

The Stock Exchange Building is a building originally erected for the Stockholm Stock Exchange between 1773 and 1778 from construction drawings by Erik Palmstedt. The stock exchange moved out of the building completely in 1998. It is located on the north side of the square Stortorget in Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden, and owned by the city council. Since 1914 it has been the home of the Swedish Academy, which uses the building for its meetings, such as those at which it selects and announces the name of the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The building also houses the Nobel Museum and the Nobel Library.

Dag Hammarskjold's farm in Backakra, used as a retreat for academy members Backakra.jpg
Dag Hammarskjöld's farm in Backåkra, used as a retreat for academy members

The academy has had its annual meeting there every year since, attended by members of the Swedish royal family. [2] However, it was not until 1914 that the academy gained permanent use of the upper floor as their own. It is here that the academy meets and, amongst other business, announces the names of Nobel Prize laureates. This task arguably makes the academy one of the world's most influential literary bodies.

Nobel Prize set of annual international awards, primarily 5 established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances.

Dag Hammarskjöld's former farm at Backåkra, close to Ystad in southern Sweden, was bought in 1957 as a summer residence by Hammarskjöld, then Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953–1961). The south wing of the farm is reserved as a summer retreat for the 18 members of the Swedish Academy, of which Hammarskjöld was a member.

Dag Hammarskjöld Swedish diplomat, economist, and author

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist and diplomat who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. Hammarskjöld was the youngest person to have held the post, at an age of 47 years upon his appointment. His second term was cut short when he died in the crash of his DC-6 airplane while en route to cease-fire negotiations during the Congo Crisis. He is one of only four people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize.

Backåkra farm

Dag Hammarskjöld's farm at Backåkra, close to Ystad in southern Sweden, was bought in 1957 as a summer residence by Hammarskjöld, then Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953-1961). The farm was in decline and its restoration came to last until after Hammarskjöld's death in 1961. It is maintained by the Swedish Tourist Association, as a museum displaying artifacts of his tenure at the UN. The south wing of the farm is reserved as a summer retreat for the 18 members of the Swedish Academy, of which Hammarskjöld was a member. There is an outdoor meditation site on the property.

Ystad Place in Skåne, Sweden

Ystad is a town and the seat of Ystad Municipality in Skåne County, Sweden. Ystad had 18,350 inhabitants in 2010. The settlement dates back to the 11th century and has become a busy ferryport, local administrative centre and tourist attraction. The detective series Wallander, created by Henning Mankell, is set primarily in Ystad.

Prior to 2018 it was not possible for members of the academy to resign; membership was for life, although the academy could decide to exclude members. This happened twice to Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, who was excluded in 1794, re-elected in 1805 and excluded again in 1811. In 1989, Werner Aspenström, Kerstin Ekman and Lars Gyllensten chose to stop participating in the meetings of the academy, over its refusal to express support for Salman Rushdie when Ayatollah Khomeini condemned him to death for The Satanic Verses, and in 2005, Knut Ahnlund made the same decision, as a protest against the choice of Elfride Jelinek as Nobel laureate for 2004. [3] [4] [5] On 25 November 2017, Lotta Lotass said in an interview that she had not participated in the meetings of the academy for more than two years and did not consider herself a member any more. [6]

Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt Swedish general and diplomat

Count Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt was a Finnish, Swedish and Russian courtier and diplomat. In Finland, he is considered one of the great Finnish statesmen. His advice to Russia's Tsar Alexander I was of utmost importance for securing the autonomy of the Grand Duchy of Finland.

Werner Aspenström Swedish writer

Karl Werner Aspenström was a Swedish poet.

Kerstin Ekman Swedish writer

Kerstin Lillemor Ekman, née Hjorth, is a Swedish novelist.

2018 controversies

In April 2018, three members of the academy board resigned in response to a sexual-misconduct investigation involving author Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of board member Katarina Frostenson. [7] Arnault was accused by at least 18 women of sexual assault and harassment; [7] he denied all accusations. [8] The three members resigned in protest over the lack of what they felt appropriate action against Arnault. [7] [9] [10] Two former permanent secretaries, Sture Allén and Horace Engdahl, called the current leader, Sara Danius, a weak leader. [7]

On 10 April, Danius resigned from her position with the academy, [11] bringing the number of empty seats to four. Frostenson voluntarily agreed to withdraw from participating in the academy, bringing the total of withdrawals to five. Because two other seats were still vacant after the Rushdie affair, this left only 11 active members. The scandal was widely seen as damaging to the credibility of the Nobel prize in Literature and the authority of the academy. "With this scandal you cannot possibly say that this group of people has any kind of solid judgment," noted Swedish journalist Björn Wiman. [7]

On 27 April 2018, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority opened a preliminary investigation regarding financial crime linked to an association run by Arnault and Frostenson, which had received funding from the academy. [12] [13]

On 2 May 2018, the Swedish King amended the rules of the academy and made it possible for members to resign. The new rules also state that a member who has been inactive in the work of the academy for more than two years can be asked to resign. [14] Following the new rules, the first members to formally be granted permission to leave the academy and vacate their chairs were Kerstin Ekman, Klas Östergren, Sara Stridsberg and Lotta Lotass. [15]

On 4 May 2018, the Swedish Academy announced that following the preceding internal struggles the Nobel laureate for literature selected in 2018 will be postponed until 2019, when two laureates will be selected. [16]

Awards and prizes

Since 1901, the Swedish Academy has annually decided who will be the laureate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded in memory of the donor Alfred Nobel.

The Swedish Academy annually awards nearly 50 different prizes and scholarships, most of them for domestic Swedish authors. Common to all is that they are awarded without competition and without application. The Dobloug Prize, the largest of these at $40,000, is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. [17] [18]

The Big Prize

Swedish: Stora Priset, literally the Big Prize, was instituted by King Gustav III. The prize, which consists of a single gold medal, is the most prestigious award that can be awarded by the Swedish Academy. It has been awarded to, among others, Selma Lagerlöf (1904 and 1909), Herbert Tingsten (1966), Astrid Lindgren (1971), Evert Taube (1972) and Tove Jansson (1994).

Other awards

The academy awards around 50 prizes each year. A person does not have to apply nor compete for the prizes.

Full list of awards (in Swedish)

Current members

The current members of the Swedish Academy listed by seat number:

1. Eric M. Runesson 1960582018
2. Bo Ralph 1945731999
3. Sture Allén 1928901980Permanent secretary 1986–1999
4. Anders Olsson 1949692008Permanent secretary pro tempore [19]
5. Göran Malmqvist 1924941985
6. Tomas Riad 1959592011
7.vacantSince 2019. [20]
8. Jesper Svenbro 1944742006
9.vacantSince 2018. [21]
10. Peter Englund 1957612002Permanent secretary 2009–2015.
11. Mats Malm 1964542018
12. Per Wästberg 1933851997
13.vacantSince 2018. [15]
14. Kristina Lugn 1948702006
15. Jila Mossaed 1948702018
16. Kjell Espmark 1930881981
17. Horace Engdahl 1948701997Permanent secretary 1999–2009
18. Tua Forsström 1947712019To be introduced on December 20, 2019. [22]

Permanent secretaries

OrderSeatPermanent Secretary of the Swedish AcademyBornYearsNotes
1.11. Nils von Rosenstein 17521786–1824
2.13. Frans Michael Franzén 17721824–1834
3.12. Bernhard von Beskow 17961834–1868
4.5. Johan Erik Rydqvist 18001868–1869pro tempore
5.15. Ludvig Manderström 18061869–1872
6.12. Carl Gustaf Strandberg 18251872–1874pro tempore
7.9. Henning Hamilton 18141874–1881
8.11. Bror Emil Hildebrand 18061881–1883pro tempore
9.8. Carl David af Wirsén 18421883–1912pro tempore in 1883–84
10.6. Hans Hildebrand 18421912pro tempore
11.11. Erik Axel Karlfeldt 18641913–1931
12.14. Per Hallström 18661931–1941
13.13. Anders Österling 18841941–1964
14.7. Karl Ragnar Gierow 19041964–1977
15.14. Lars Gyllensten 19211977–1986
16.3. Sture Allén 19281986–1999
17.17. Horace Engdahl 19481999–2009
18.10. Peter Englund 19572009–2015
19.7. Sara Danius 19622015–2018
20.4. Anders Olsson 19492018-pro tempore [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

Horace Engdahl Swedish literary historian, Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy

Horace Oscar Axel Engdahl is a Swedish literary historian and critic, and has been a member of the Swedish Academy since 1997. He was the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy from 1999 to June 2009, when he was succeeded by Swedish author and historian Peter Englund.

Jon Fosse Norwegian writer

Jon Olav Fosse is a Norwegian author and dramatist.

Peter Englund Swedish historian

Peter Mikael Englund is a Swedish author and historian. Englund writes non-fiction books and essays, mainly about history, and especially about the Swedish Empire, but also about other historical events. He writes in a very accessible style, providing narrative details usually omitted in typical books about history. His books have gained popularity and are translated into several languages, such as German and Czech. He was the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy from 1 June 2009 to 31 May 2015, when he was succeeded by Sara Danius. In January 2019 Englund announced that he, and fellow academy member Espmark, would return as active members of the Swedish academy, where they had been inactive since April 2018.

Katarina Frostenson Swedish poet, member of the Swedish Academy

Alma Katarina Frostenson Arnault is a Swedish poet and writer. She was elected a member of the Swedish Academy in 1992. In 2003, Frostenson was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in recognition of her services to literature.

Knut Emil Ahnlund was a Swedish literary historian, writer, and member of the Swedish Academy.

Nobel Library library

The Nobel Library is the public library of the Swedish Academy instituted to assist the evaluation of Nobel laureates to the Prize in Literature and other awards granted by the academy. The library is located in the so-called Stock Exchange Building at 4, Källargränd, a short alley passing between Slottsbacken and Stortorget in Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden.

Sara Stridsberg Swedish writer

Sara Brita Stridsberg is a Swedish author and translator. Her first novel, Happy Sally was about Sally Bauer, who in 1939 had become the first Scandinavian woman to swim the English Channel.

The Dobloug Prize is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. The prize is named after Norwegian businessman and philanthropist Birger Dobloug (1881–1944) pursuant to his bequest. The prize sum is 4 * 150,000 Swedish crowns (2011). The Dobloug Prize is awarded annually by the Swedish Academy.

Anders Olsson (writer) Swedish writer, member of the Swedish Academy

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Lotta Lotass Swedish writer, Member of the Swedish Academy

Britt Inger Liselott Lotass, better known as Lotta Lotass, is a Swedish writer. She holds a PhD of Comparative literature from the University of Gothenburg, and lives in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Nobel Prize in Literature One of the five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Literature is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author's body of work as a whole. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize. The academy announces the name of the laureate in early October. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. It was not awarded in 2018, but two names will be awarded in 2019.

Carl David af Wirsén poet, literary critic and the Swedish Academys permanent secretary from 1884-1912

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  3. "Nobel Judge Steps Down in Protest". BBC News Online. BBC. 11 October 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
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  5. Harding, Luke (12 October 2005). "Nobel winner's work is violent porn, says juror". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  6. Därför lämnade Lotta Lotass Svenska Akademien, 25 November 2017.
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  10. "Sexual Misconduct Claim Spurs Nobel Members to Step Aside in Protest". The New York Times . Reuters. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  11. Åkerman, Felicia (12 April 2018). "Sara Danius lämnar Svenska Akademien" [Sara Danius leaves the Swedeish Academy]. Dagens Industri . Dagens Industri . Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  12. "Förundersökning inledd kring Akademien" [Preliminary investigation started linked to the academy]. Svenska Dagbladet . Svenska Dagbladet. Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. 27 April 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  13. Tibbling, Jan (27 April 2018). "Förundersökning inledd i ärende med koppling till Svenska Akademien" [Preliminary investigation in a case linked to the Swedish Academy started]. Ekobrottsmyndigheten. Swedish Economic Crime Authority . Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  14. Holmgren, Mia (2 May 2018). "Kungen: Det är nu Akademiens ansvar att vidta nödvändiga åtgärder" [The King: The academy is now responsible for taking necessary action]. Dagens Nyheter . Dagens Nyheter . Retrieved 4 May 2018.
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  17. Website of the Swedish Academy describing the prize (Swedish language)) Archived 16 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
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  19. "Anders Olsson tar över efter Sara Danius i Svenska Akademien" (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  20. Sara Danius lämnar Svenska Akademien, Svenska Akademien, February 26, 2019.
  21. Another Member Quits Body That Awards Nobel Literature Prize, AP via New York Times, November 7, 2018,
  22. The Swedish Academy elects a new member, Swedish Academy, February 12, 2019.
  23. "Sara Danius ersättare: "Samtal med kungen ledde fram till detta"". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 April 2018.

Other sources

Coordinates: 59°19′31″N18°4′14″E / 59.32528°N 18.07056°E / 59.32528; 18.07056