Swedish Romantic literature

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Title illustration of Esaias Tegner's Frithiof's Saga (1876 ed.) Fritiofs saga (1876), titelillustration.png
Title illustration of Esaias Tegnér's Frithiof's Saga (1876 ed.)

Swedish Romantic literature denotes Swedish literature between 1809 and 1830. [1] In Europe, the period from circa 18051840 is known as Romanticism. It was also strongly featured in Sweden, based on German influences. During this relatively short period, there were so many great Swedish poets, that the era is referred to as the Golden Age of Swedish poetry. [2] [3] The period started around 1810 when several periodicals were published that contested the literature of the 18th century. An important society was the Gothic Society (1811), and their periodical Iduna, a romanticised retrospect to Gothicismus. [2]

Swedish literature refers to literature written in the Swedish language or by writers from Sweden.

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

One significant reason was that several poets for the first time worked towards a common direction. Four of the main romantic poets that made significant contributions to the movements were: the professor of history Erik Gustaf Geijer, the loner Erik Johan Stagnelius, professor of Greek language Esaias Tegnér and professor of aesthetics and philosophy P.D.A. Atterbom. [4]

Erik Gustaf Geijer Swedish writer, historian, poet, philosopher, and composer

Erik Gustaf Geijer was a Swedish writer, historian, poet, philosopher, and composer. His writings served to promote Swedish National Romanticism. He also was an influential advocate of Liberalism.

Erik Johan Stagnelius Swedish poet and playwright

Erik Johan Stagnelius was a Swedish Romantic poet and playwright.

Esaias Tegnér Swedish poet, professor and bishop

Esaias Tegnér was a Swedish writer, professor of Greek language, and bishop. He was during the 19th century regarded as the father of modern poetry in Sweden, mainly through the national romantic epic Frithjof's Saga. He has been called Sweden's first modern man. Much is known about him, and he also wrote openly about himself.

Geijer (1783–1847) was one of the earliest and most prominent members of the neo-gothicist Gothic Society. As a professor he published two cultural-historical works: "Svea rikes hävder" and "Svenska folkets historia", where he gave support to the idea of the Viking Age being a cultural height that was suppressed during the Middle Ages. [5] [6] Stagnelius (17931823) spent his short adult years living as an outsider in Stockholm. Many of his poems deal with the beauty in nature, encompassing the loneliness of the soul, and it is both for his beauty and his mysticism that Stagnelius's works were to attain recognition. [7] The fame of Atterbom (17901855) comes from his flower poetry: Lycksalighetens ö ("Island of Bliss"), 1824–1827, and a collection of poetry called Blommorna. [8]

Viking Age Period of European history from the 8th to the 11th century dealing with the Scandinavian expansion

The Viking Age is a period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, following the Germanic Iron Age. It is the period of history when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids, colonization, and conquest. In this period, the Norsemen settled in Norse Greenland, Newfoundland, and present-day Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Normandy, Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man, the Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Italy.

Esaias Tegnér (17821846) has been described as the first modern Swedish man, in the sense that very much is known about both his life and his person, and that he left an extensive correspondence. His great success lies on Frithiof's Saga (1820–1825), a romanticized version of the Icelandic sagas but in a modern dress. The work was translated into several languages, put to music in Sweden, where it had status of a national epos until the realism of the 1880s obsoleted it. [9]

Frithiofs Saga literary work

Frithiof's Saga is a legendary saga from Iceland which in its present form is from ca. 1300. It is a continuation from The Saga of Thorstein Víkingsson. It takes place principally in Norway during the 8th century.

Early liberalism

Fredrika Bremer (18011865) was the first writer of realism novel, in the spirit of Jane Austen, and her most important contribution is that she introduced the novel in Swedish on a large scale. Her most important novel was her last: Hertha, in 1856. Hertha is not so much a novel as it is a political debate of women's rights.

Fredrika Bremer Swedish writer and feminist

Fredrika Bremer was a Swedish writer and feminist reformer. Her Sketches of Everyday Life were wildly popular in Britain and the United States during the 1840s and 1850s and she is regarded as the Swedish Jane Austen, bringing the realist novel to prominence in Swedish literature. In her late 30s, she successfully petitioned King Charles XIV for emancipation from her brother's wardship; in her 50s, her novel Hertha prompted a social movement that granted all Swedish women legal majority at the age of 25 and established Högre Lärarinneseminariet, Sweden's first female tertiary school. It also inspired Sophie Adlersparre to begin publishing the Home Review, Sweden's first women's magazine. In 1884, she became the namesake of the Fredrika Bremer Association, the first women's rights organization in Sweden.

Jane Austen English novelist

Jane Austen was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Her use of biting irony, along with her realism, humour, and social commentary, have long earned her acclaim among critics, scholars, and popular audiences alike.

Viktor Rydberg (18281895) was a key figure in the Swedish culture between 1855 and the modern breakthrough in 1879. In the spirit of Dickens, Rydberg wrote adventurous novels and stories that in reality were dealing with the poor and exposed people of society. Several works tried to define a world where Christianity became integrated with humanistic ideals of ancient Greece. Rydberg was also noted for groundbreaking historical and theological works. [10]

When Sweden lost Finland in 1809, Finnish literature moved in its own direction. For the remainder of the 19th century however, it was still the educated Swedish speaking minority in Finland that authored most of Finland's literature. A key figure was the Swedish speaking Johan Ludvig Runeberg (18041877), was established himself as Finlands national poet, a distinction he has kept into modern times. His most important work was The Tales of Ensign Stål (18481860), an epic poem about the Finnish War (1808–1809), the first verse of which became Finland's national anthem. [11] After Runeberg, it was to be Zacharius Topelius (18181898) to take the role of national Finnish author. Although he wrote both novels and poetry, his most important contributions were children's books, with Läsning för barn (Reading for Children, 18651896). [12]

Notes and references

  1. These years are given by Tigerstedt, 1971
  2. 1 2 Algulin, pp.67-68
  3. Gustafson, pp.143-148
  4. Gustafson, p.146
  5. Algulin, pp.83-86
  6. Gustafson, pp.156-164
  7. Algulin, pp.77-81
  8. Gustafson, pp.151-155
  9. Algulin, pp.70-74
  10. Algulin, pp.95-98
  11. Algulin, pp.103-108
  12. Algulin, pp.107-108

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