Swedes in America, 1638-1938

By Adolph B. Benson; Naboth Hedin | Go to book overview

Writers in Swedish

JOSEPH E. A. ALEXIS

For biographical notes on the Author, see the chapter on "Professors."

WHEN, at the middle of the nineteenth century, an ever-increasing stream of Swedes turned to the opportunities of the New World, the literary heritage from Sweden found expression in a new type of writing, sometimes called Swedish-American. As early as the 'eighties, the noted Swedish author, Victor Rydberg, recognized the existence of this literature. Fundamentally, it is a transplanted product, whose rapid development, from the middle of the century, was due to the fact that the authors carried with them to the New World the traditional molds, into which they poured the content of new experiences. Almost without exception, the Swedish-American authors of note were born in the Old World, and their average age, on arriving in America, was about twenty- two; so that one might well call this literary outburst, Swedish literature in America, instead of Swedish-American literature. The cultural tendencies in Sweden, as well as the trends of the American authors writing in English, all exerted their influence on the generation of writers trained in Sweden and practicing their art in the United States.

While both America and Sweden were realistic in their literary expression, the Swedish-American authors were more of the idealistic order, differing, therefore, from the general tendencies, both in Sweden and in the United States. Before the Swede left the Old World, he had been a part of the very nature of the country. His poems had been portrayals of Nature as it was. But, when this realist came to America, he found the atmosphere here to be different. He had the feeling, at times, that he was a stranger in the new land. He began to think idealistically about the old home, which he painted in glowing colors--thus getting away from reality. He lauded, even more than did the writers of Sweden, the charm of the ancestral home.

This struggle in the mind and heart of the newcomer, be-

-191-

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Swedes in America, 1638-1938
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Swedish American Tercentenary Association ix
  • Editors' Preface xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Colonists 5
  • Colonial Landmarks 35
  • The Swedish Language in America 52
  • Bibliography 72
  • Farmers 75
  • Pioneers of the Northwest 92
  • Geographical Distribution 107
  • Swedish Place Names in America 123
  • Religion 126
  • Charities and Self-Help 140
  • Colleges 154
  • Bibliography 180
  • Newspapers 181
  • Writers in Swedish 191
  • Magazines 206
  • Authors 209
  • Journalists 219
  • Translations of Swedish LIterature 237
  • Four Representatives of the Intellect Arrhenius, Berzelius, LInné, and Swedenborg 253
  • The New Church 279
  • Professors 282
  • Public School Educators 300
  • Lawyers 315
  • Public Officials 321
  • Doctors 338
  • Gymnastics 357
  • Sports and Sportsmen 366
  • Inventors 382
  • Engineers 407
  • Architects and Builders 416
  • Composers 435
  • Opera Singers 453
  • The American Union of Swedish Singers 469
  • Moving Picture Actors 473
  • Stage and Radio Performers 482
  • Painters and Sculptors 488
  • Soldiers and Sailors 506
  • Aviation 532
  • Manufacturers 551
  • Businessmen Gustaf Sundelius 572
  • Imports and Importers VIctor O. Freeburg 584
  • Index 599
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