Swedish literature

The Twentieth Century

In the early 20th cent. the fiction of Hjalmar Söderberg presaged a renewed emphasis on restraint and realism. Ludvig Nordström, Gustaf Hellström, and Elin Wägner were leading novelists of the 1910s and 20s. Proletarian themes were developed after World War I by Vilhelm Moberg, Ivar Lo-Johansson, Moa Martinsson, and Martin Koch. The Nobel laureate Pär Lagerkvist developed and sustained Swedish expressionism, as did the novelist Hjalmar Bergman and the poet Birger Sjöberg. Modernism, with its emphasis on experimental form, was a strong trend in the 1920s and after; among its leading exponents were Karin Boye and Gunnar Ekelöf.

A number of fine writers emerged both before and after World War II, including the novelist Eyvind Johnson (who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in literature with the Swedish poet Harry Martinson), Ivar Lo-Johansson, and Agnes von Krusenstierna. Leading Swedish writers of the late 20th cent. include the novelists Sven Delblanc, Kerstin Ekman, Lars Gustaffson, P.C. Jersild, and Sara Lidman; the poets Tomas Tranströmer, Göran Palm, and Göran Sønnevi; and the dramatists Per Olov Enquist and Lars Norén.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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