Sweden Literature - Post- Romantic Realism (1830-1860)

Sweden Literature – Post- Romantic Realism (1830-1860)


Also for Sweden, romanticism thus marked a return of poetry to the inner sources of life, a deepening of inspiration in the conscious abandonment to free creative impulse, an unlimited widening of horizons and a conquest of previously unknown spiritual worlds in life as in ‘ art. But if new perspectives in the distance opened up and new depths opened up, adherence to reality, in the concrete contingency of its problems, was loosened. And the era that followed was precisely marked by the effort to regain lost contact. In universities, the demands of experimental research were opposed to humanism and the romantic “philosophy of nature” (see the controversy between the doctor I. Hvasser and the chemist JJ Berzelius). In the’ historiographical investigation contrasted the “facts” to the lyrical or philosophical reconstructions (A. Fryxell); in theological studies the rational freedom of the critical spirit was affirmed (H. Reuterdahl, JH Thomander); in political conceptions the consideration of concrete problems of the present prevailed, from whose discussion the then source liberal press drew the most powerful impulse (L. Hierta, MJ Crusenstolpe). Similar trends also emerged in literature. Of the realistic legacy of the late eighteenth century (see the novels of F. Cederborgh) only the cult of Bellmann (see the songs of CF Dahlgrén) had been accepted in the romantic era, as a typical example of the “free nature that creates through the genius of the poet “; and only one new realistic current had gradually succeeded in opening its way: the description of nature and village life (LF Rääf; Sweden Ödmann; P. Laestadius; N. Lovén; K. and H. Lilljebjörn). Now, however, an evolution in a realistic sense – starting with criticism (CA Hagberg; BE Malmström; CF Bergstedt; OP Sturzenbecker) – extended to the whole literary work.

But it was, in reality, an evolution that directly generated itself from the very heart of romanticism, which continued to remain as the intimate substratum of the spiritual life even in the attempts to overcome it. And typical is the case of BE Malmström, who, having left for Italy to put an end to the romantic celebrations of his predecessors, as soon as he reached Trasimeno, he too sang the most romantic of hymns. CVA Strandberg (pseud. Talis Qualis) gave political songs to the liberal revolution, but with a romantic idealism and an impetuous romantic melody a la Freiligrath; and in lyric the most characteristic manifestation of the time was – alongside a whimsical taste for adventure (GL Sommelius) or a Schiller-style lyricism tinged with realistic ironies (GL(W. v. Braun, J. Nybom, etc.), which found its most brilliant expression in the goliardic Gluntarne of G. Wennerberg. The theater continued to be dominated by historical drama (B. v. Beskow; I. Borjesson; F. Hedberg; JJ Wecksell), or it mixed romanticism and realism in the conciliatory bourgeois taste of light comedy and vaudeville (A. Blanche; FA Dahlgrén ; F. Hedberg). Even the novel, if it was sometimes adapted as an indirect weapon in social and political battles (OP Sturzenbecker, pseud. Orvar Odd), flourished above all in the form of historical novel (besides Aurora Königsmarck by Palmblad, v. GH Mellin, PG Sparre, etc.), and only through a laborious tenacity of unequal attempts was he able to accept within himself, in the immediacy of relationships, the reality of his time. In the Rosen p ā ??? Tistelön by Emilie Flygare Carlén a healthy and simple country realism frees itself not without effort from a background of romantic romance; in Sofia von Knorring’s Cousinerna the poetry of well-bred gentle girls does not always resist the temptations of a moralistic and sentimental romanticism; and A. Blanche himself, with his natural taste for the observation of life, came only after 60 to the witty costume painting of the Bilder ur verkligheten. Even a personality of high intellect and inexhaustible vitality like Federika Bremer, capable of facing all the experiences of the European spirituality of her time – even in Italy she held back, attracted by her experience of Catholic life and by a lively sensitivity for the passion of people in the struggle for independence – it could indeed insert itself into social reality as an active operating force, but only at times did it manage to find – in its novels and short stories – the balance between the realism of its intelligence and the romanticism of its heart. It was the spiritual drama of the time. And the most tragic expression was the poet of Tornrosens bok, CIL Almquist, who in his abandonment to reality and in his romantic sensitivity knew no restraint or limit, and was, at the same time, tender and brutal, delicate and cynical, prophet and delinquent, and also in the intuitions of poetry he carried this rich and sick nature, drawing from it, at times, a new style “all nerves and blood”.

In spontaneity of agreements, only the two tendencies – due to the different living conditions and a different spiritual situation – merged among the Swedish poets of Finland. After the separation of Finland from Sweden in 1815, spiritual contacts with the motherland had, by necessity, become less continuous; and romanticism, associating itself with nascent national aspirations (JA Arvidsson, F. Cygnacus), had retained a character of serene, confident freshness, which is still encountered – even after the 1950s – in the delicate lyrics, stories and fairy tales of Q. Topelius. In JL Runeberg was added the natural realism implicit in its simple, firm, healthy, strong nature, educated to internal harmony in the habit of the poetry of the ancients. And a poem was born inspired by faith in life and enthusiasm for all the great ideal values, but evident of truth in the images: moved in the intonation, but realistic in color, firm and confident in the drawing. The Fänrik Ståls sägner, who in Finland acted as a historical force, also remain in the history of Swedish post-romanticism the great work, which concludes – as in an ideal achievement – an era.

” Signaturerna ” (1860-1880). – The period that followed, marked the exhaustion of the movement that had received the impetus from Romanticism. The nine young people, who in 1863, gathered in a “Society of the nameless”, published their compositions under the title of Sånger och berättelser af nio Signaturer (Songs and stories by nine signatures) were of different tendencies but they had one thing in common: the feeling of being the heirs of a national culture already rich in traditions and reconnecting to that culture the needs of the new poetry. Historical and philological studies had emerged with vigorous vitality (see, among historians, HG Hiärne, H. Forssell and among philologists EHW Tegnér) and the major educators of the new literary consciousness were professors of Upsala (V. Rydberg, CP Wikner, CR Nyblom). The new movement, although starting from statements of realistic tendency (LH Dietrichson; D. Klockhoff; ED Börk, etc.), thus gradually assumed a character of academic idealism, of which the poetry and criticism of CD af Virsén constitute a typical manifestation.

According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS.COM, the “rational idealism” of Ch. J. Bostrom, the greatest philosopher in Sweden, gave the general orientation to thought. And in literature Tegnér’s classical idealism – sacrificed in the early programs to Runeberg’s realism – became the understanding attitude, in which the other realistic and romantic tendencies variously agreed. And the taste of time was reflected in the smooth elegances of Virsén’s lyric, in the soft elegies of E. Bäckström, in the gentle idylls of TA Gellerstedt. An inspired poet arose with C. Snoilsky, who, with a frank vein, enlivened his Parnassian sense of beauty with warm romantic colors – see, among other things, the poems of Italy – until, thoughtful of the social problem, he also welcomed the sufferings of the humble in the aristocratic nobility of his song.

Sweden Literature - Post- Romantic Realism (1830-1860)