This book is part of a five-volume work on the histories of the Scandinavian literatures. Its first objective is to satisfy a deep need in Anglo-American scholarship. Various studies dealing with individual Scandinavian literatures have been published in English. Most of them, however, are outdated, out of print, or cover only limited chronological periods, and only few match contemporary expectations of stringent research; furthermore, most of these works have viewed their subject in isolation.
The five volumes of the present work attempt to view Danish, Faroese, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish literature as part of both a continuous interrelationship and world literature at large. For the first time, women's and children's literature have been included, and in addition to a comparatist approach, it has been a major editorial wish to incorporate social and cultural history in the discussion.
Almost fifty internationally recognized scholars from the United States, England, and Scandinavia have contributed to the project. It is aimed at students, comparatists, and a general readership interested in familiarizing themselves with a literary tradition that has produced fifteen Nobel laureates. Since the Middle Ages Scandinavian writers and works have been immensely influential in the development of world literature. They are being introduced and discussed here with the hope that an even larger public will find them attractive, exciting, and entertaining.