Six Scandinavian Novelists: Lie, Jacobsen, Heidenstam, Selma Lagerlof, Hamsun, Sigrid Undset

By Alrik Gustafson | Go to book overview

NATIONALISM REINTERPRETED VERNER VON HEIDENSTAM

SCHLOSS BRUNEGG, a picturesque medieval castle situated near Othmarsingen, in the canton of Aargau, northern Switzerland, was in the summer of 1886 the scene of one of the most interesting episodes in the history of modern Swedish literature. It was in the grand hall of this old feudal castle that August Strindberg and Verner von Heidenstam, both in temporary self-imposed exile from Sweden, came together frequently during these summer months to exchange ideas on a great variety of problems which were of vital interest to both of them. They had met for the first time more than a year before, probably in consequence of a letter which Heidenstam had addressed to Strindberg at the time of the legal prosecution occasioned by the first volume of Strindberg Married ( 1884). Early in 1885 -- a short time after Strindberg's return to the Continent from the Stockholm journey necessitated by the legal prosecution -- Strindberg and Heidenstam travelled together to Rome and Venice; and during the summer of the same year they met again at Grèz, favorite gathering place at this time of Scandinavian artists. It seems that it was not until the summer of the following year, however, that these two self-exiled and restless spirits -- the one an author already famous, the other a young poet still to make his début -- came together for serious, prolonged discussion of the many questions that disturbed both of them deeply. Neither the exigencies of travel in Italy nor the variety of social intercourse provided by the art colony at Grèz had given them sufficient privacy and leisure for an intimate and thoroughgoing discussion of the problems with which each of them was grappling at the time. Brunegg, the old castle which Heidenstam had leased in 1886, offered a perfect retreat. Here the two men could cross mental swords at their leisure, and without fear of interruption.

Curious, however, were the incongruities between the scene on the one hand and the characters and problems they discussed

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Six Scandinavian Novelists: Lie, Jacobsen, Heidenstam, Selma Lagerlof, Hamsun, Sigrid Undset
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • By Way of Introduction 3
  • Impressionistic Realism Jonas Lie 25
  • Toward Decadence Jens Peter Jacobsen 73
  • Nationalism Reinterpreted Verner Von Heidenstam 123
  • Saga and Legend of a Province Selma Lagerlöf 177
  • Man and the Soil Knut Hamsun 226
  • Christian Ethics in a Pagan World 286
  • Index 363
  • Index 365
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