Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, About the Series

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

This work is directed not only to scholars and students of Nordic and comparative literature, but also to those who would like to learn about the literary and cultural life of the five Nordic countries. Rather than writing a complete, hence a more superficial, survey, I have restricted myself to a small number of outstanding authors ...

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Introduction

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pp. ix-x

When one decides to write a history of Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and Icelandic literature for English-speaking readers, the first question to arise is on what basis should one select the literature to be discussed. Should one select the same works one would include in a literary history written for readers in the Nordic countries? ...

Contents

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pp. xi-xii

Part I. The Late Nineteenth Century

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1. The Modern Breakthrough in Denmark

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pp. 3-16

Denmark's victorious naval battle against the English fleet off Copenhagen in 1801 produced a wave of national self-confidence. However, that self-confidence was soon shaken by defeats in the same war, which forced Denmark into an alliance with Napoleon. ...

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2. The Modern Breakthrough in Norway

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pp. 17-34

Until the mid-nineteenth century, Norwegian intellectual life was predominantly politically oriented and was determined by the decisive national events of 1814 as well as by contemporary social problems. In literature, the short stories of Mauritz Hansen and the plays of H. A. Bjerregaard from the 1820s and 1830s, ...

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3. Nordic Literature in the 1880s

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pp. 35-74

The decade of the 1880s in Norway and Denmark was quite different from the previous one. The fighting spirit of the years of the "modern breakthrough" was gone; pessimism and skepticism became increasingly widespread. ...

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4. Nordic Literature in the 1890s

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pp. 75-112

Symptomatic of a new intellectual epoch in the Nordic countries was the great interest that George Brandes had awakened in Nietzsche (see p. 7). Not only Nietzsche the philosopher but also Nietzsche the cultural critic and master of style influenced Nordic writers greatly. ...

Part II. The Early Twentieth Century

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5. Early Twentieth-Century Nordic Literature

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pp. 115-148

It would be incorrect to consider the year 1900 as a sharp demarcation in the literary history of Scandinavia. To speak of a single dominant artistic direction is also impossible, for movements and tendencies that earlier had succeeded one another were now running parallel or were inextricably interwoven. ...

Part III. Between the World Wars

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6. Swedish Literature between the Wars

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pp. 151-176

Even though great numbers of Swedish workers were in a revolutionary mood in 1917-18, there was no significant unrest. Rather, constitutional reform enacted universal suffrage and laid the foundation for the political influence of the Social-Democratic Party, an influence which steadily increased during the 1920s and 1930s. ...

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7. Norwegian Literature between the Wars

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pp. 177-196

Although Norway was able to maintain its external neutrality during World War I, many of the younger authors who appeared around 1920 were strongly influenced by the unsettling events of the period. They felt the ground shake beneath them, and they looked for a new stability. ...

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8. Danish Literature between the Wars

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pp. 197-220

The outbreak of World War I marked a more significant turning-point in Danish literature than in the literature of the other Nordic countries. The tension in Europe was evident in press releases about increasing military budgets and nationalistic proclamations. Still the public was surprised by the outbreak of war. ...

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9. Faroese Literature—A Survey

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pp. 221-226

On the Faroese Islands, situated in the North Atlantic, Danish was the official language until 1948 when the islands became a self-governing region of Denmark. A major barrier to the development of the Faroese language was the absence of spelling rules, which were first developed in 1854 by V. U. Hammershaimb (1819-1909). ...

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10. Fenno-Swedish Modernism

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pp. 227-232

After World War I a modernist breakthrough occurred in Fenno-Swedish literature which turned against the flaneur mentality and the older writers' aristocratic exclusiveness. Without forming any cohesive group, the young poets contributed to the periodical Ultra (1922), which in 1928 was succeeded by Quosego (1928-29). ...

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11. Social Realism and Innovation in Finland

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pp. 233-242

Prose literature in Finland between the two world wars was dominated by a number of authors writing in Finnish, who during the troubled years of the civil war rejected all neo-romantic slogans and addressed themselves to the needs and interests of the common people—in contrast to the work of the Fenno-Swedish poets. ...

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12. Renewal and Traditionalism in Iceland

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pp. 243-252

The economic upswing during World War I created a boom within manufacturing, trade, and the fishing industry. In Reykjavik a wealthy, conservative middle class of merchants and shipowners emerged; simultaneously the migration from countryside to city increased, resulting in a large proletariat, most of whom were employed in the fishing industry. ...

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Part IV. Postwar Developments

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pp. 253-256

The turbulent years after the outbreak of World War II began with Finland's Winter War against Russia (1939-40) and continued with German aid to Finland (1941-44), the occupation of Denmark and Norway by German troops (1940-45), of the Faroese Islands and Iceland by the British (1940-45), and Sweden's armed neutrality. ...

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13. Swedish Postwar Literature

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pp. 257-294

During World War II the Swedish government adopted a neutral posture, which many regarded as opportunistic and cowardly. Although the Swedish population experienced the war at a distance, its brutality influenced an entire generation of writers and became their central problem: One could no longer rely on national, religious, or even humanistic values. ...

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14. Norwegian Postwar Literature

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pp. 295-314

World War II and the German occupation from 1940 to 1945 marked a break in Norwegian literature. There was, in addition to love and death, one theme that suddenly preoccupied everyone: Fatherland, community, even the king became realities that were on all lips. ...

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15. Danish Postwar Literature

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pp. 315-348

The outbreak of World War II did not surprise the Danish public as much as the events of 1914 had. People had expected and feared the war; writers, in particular, had expressed the general anxiety and warned of the impending danger. ...

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16. Finnish Postwar Literature

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pp. 349-362

The interwar depression struck Finland as hard as it did the other Nordic countries. Its effects were barely overcome when the nation was plunged into the devastations of World War II, a pawn of the superpowers. The Winter War against Russia under the command of Field Marshal Gustaf Mannerheim lasted from 1939 to 1940 and was continued from 1941 to 1944 with the support of Germany, ...

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17. Fenno-Swedish Postwar Literature

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pp. 363-370

In Fenno-Swedish literature the 1930s and '40s were a period of stagnation. The main contributions were made by the pioneers of the so-called Fenno-Swedish modernism (see p. 227), who now began to play an important role in the literary renewal of the other Nordic countries, especially Sweden. ...

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18. Icelandic Postwar Literature

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pp. 371-376

After World War II Icelandic writers became less insular. They became acquainted with more recent world literature, and numerous translations were published, especially of British and American writers such as Aldous Huxley, D. H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Erskine Caldwell, William Saroyan, and Sinclair Lewis. ...

Part V. Recent Trends

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19. Recent Trends in Nordic Literature

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pp. 379-412

The general trend in the literature of the 1970s is an increasing skepticism toward the value of writing fiction as well as an attempt to establish new connections with reality, to express and encourage human contact and solidarity. With a growing political and social awareness, this solidarity embraces oppressed groups in Sweden and outside it. ...

Bibliography

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pp. 413-450

Index

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pp. 451-492