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Heidenstam som barnboksförfattare: om Svenskarna och deras hövdingar
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities.
1992 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Heidenstam as a children's author : on The Swedes and their chieftains (English)
Abstract [en]

The school reader had an important part to play in the Swedish Elementary School, especially during the period 1868-C.1940. It provided material for training language skills and replaced to a certain degree the actual textbooks in the various school subjects. During the first years of the 20th century, two leading Swedish authors were commissioned to write readers covering Swedish geography and history. This resulted in The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf (Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige, two parts 1906-07) and The Swedes and Their Chieftains. Tales for Young and Old by Vemer von Heidenstam (Svenskarna och deras hövdingar. Berättelser för unga och gamla, two parts 1908-10). The present thesis begins by giving a brief cultural and educational background of this unique collaboration between school and literature. Heidenstam was an eminent, but hardly an “easy”, author of historical prose. He had no experience of writing for children. Five chapters study different aspects of his reader for schools. Large amounts of publishing material have been preserved (manuscript, proofs, letters, memoranda); this has made it possible to show how Heidenstam, with differing degrees of success, strove to make room for his own imaginative powers within the framework of the external demands of a commission. It was seen as essential that the author kept to historical truth and probability. An archaeologist and three historians were brought in to scrutinize the text. This scrutiny made publication far more complex, as did the editors’ comments from an educational point of view. One major problem was lack of space, the difficulty of depicting all the events and characters set by the syllabus both graphically and in some depth. The moral import of the book is fairly complex. There is a patriotic or nationalist bias in conflict with a humanistic creed, an evolutionary optimism typical of the times in conflict with tragi-heroic ideals. The author’s attitude to war is ambivalent. Finally it is shown that the book was appreciated by the teachers, relatively well-liked by the children and praised to the skies by the critics as a future classic. It was in common use in the schools up until the 1940’s. Today only the first chapter, based on archaeology, can be said to have the status of a classic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hedemora: Gidlund , 1992. , p. 304
Series
Skrifter utgivna av Svenska barnboksinstitutet, ISSN 0347-5387 ; 46
Keywords [sv]
Heidenstam, Verner von, 1859-1940
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-174409Libris ID: 7668561ISBN: 917844201X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-174409DiVA, id: diva2:1358336
Public defence
1992-11-27, Hörsal 1, Hus A, Frescati, Stockholm, 10:00
Note

Med sammanfattning på engelska

Available from: 2019-10-07 Created: 2019-10-07 Last updated: 2019-10-30Bibliographically approved

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