Modern Swedish masterpieces, short stories - PDF ebook (1923)

Modern Swedish masterpieces, short stories

Modern Swedish masterpieces, short stories

It is curious that, despite the rapid growth of interest in Scandinavian literature through the English-speaking world, there has been up to now no book to represent one of the most brilliant fields of achievement, the Swedish short story. 

The work of Selma Lagerlöf is well known and a volume of Per Hallström has appeared recently, but no attempt has been made to represent a group of the leading masters. The present collection, whatever its failings, will at least indicate the power and variety of the Scandinavian genius in a new and important phase of its expression. 

The four authors here included are all living and active, from which it may be rightly inferred that the Swedish short story is of recent development. Verner von Heidenstam, born in 1859, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 19 16, has an international reputation but is not as yet widely known in America. The stories here selected are from his historical novel, The Charles Men, set in the time of Charles XII; for though the book has a clear unity, the separate chapters can be understood perfectly by themselves. Per ix X Preface Hallström, somewhat younger, is ranked even higher by Swedish critics as a master of short stories.

 The volume of translations just published omits, quite unaccountably, the two specimens here given which belong to his very best style. Hjalmar Söderberg, also a writer in his fifties, has been called the Anatole France of Sweden. Unknown in America up to now, his stories have won marked favor on their appearance in magazines. Sigfrid Siwertz, but slightly over forty, is the most promising of the younger generation.

 Less outstanding than the others, he has nevertheless a fine balance and much grace of detail. His chief novel, under the title Downstream, has just appeared in translation. As to the varying characteristics of these stories it seems best to leave every one to form his own opinions. It is not likely that writers of such strong individuality will appeal equally to the general public. Such authors, however, need no apology. This volume is unless the translator has failed badly, a challenge to American literary taste. It is not the book that is on trial but the reader.


The Chimney-Sweeper's Wife . . . . 3
Bloom 14
The Fur Coat 28
The Blue Anchor 34
The Kiss 44
The Dream of Eternity 48
The Drizzle 54
The Drawing in India Ink .... 58
The Wages of Sin 61
Communion 66
The Clown 71
Signy 76
A Masterless Dog 80
The Lady in White 87
Leonard and the Fisherman .... 104
When the Bells Ring 125
The Fortified House 145
The Queen of the Marauders . . . 168
Captured 190
The Falcon 221
Out of the Dark 237
Translator: Charles Wharton Stork
Publication date: 1923

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