Queen Christina. Charles XII. Gustav III

Queen Christina. Charles XII. Gustav III

Queen Christina. Charles XII. Gustav III

Queen Christina. Charles XII. Gustav III

Excerpt

"The history of Sweden is the history of her kings," said Erik Gustaf Geijer, one of the great Swedish romanticists of a century ago. Obviously an exaggeration, the statement nevertheless has in it an element of truth: Sweden has had, from the Viking Period on, remarkably able or colorful monarchs, most of whom have been highly important in the destinies of the country. In fact, since the accession of Gustav I in 1523, there have been only three or four unquestionably incompetent people on the throne -- perhaps Queen Ulrika Eleonora (1718-1720), King Fredrik I (1720-1751), King Adolf Fredrik (1751-1771), and Charles XIII (1809-1818); and the incompetence of one of them, Adolf Fredrik, was offset culturally at least by the brilliance of his consort, Queen Lovisa Ulrika, the mother of Gustav III. The able or colorful have included Gustav I Vasa, Erik XIV, John III, Sigismund, Charles IX, Gustav II Adolf, Christina, Charles X Gustav, Charles XI, Charles XII, and Gustav III, not to mention the able members of the present reigning Bernadotte dynasty. Even the unfortunate Gustav IV Adolf (1792-1809) is now being credited with merits that most historians had been reluctant to grant him before our time.

Many Swedish dramatists, poets, and writers of prose fiction have exploited the wealth of excellent material available to them in Swedish history and in the history of the Swedish kings. The dramatists -- one of them was Gustav III -- have produced an extensive historical dramatic literature. The man who has done more than anyone else in this field, however, is Sweden's greatest author, August Strindberg (1849-1912), who planned to write two extensive cycles . . .

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