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The following books are reviewed in the Bookshelf section of the 1998:1 issue:

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Stig Claesson: Vad man ser och hedrar (What One Sees and Honours). Bonniers, 1998.

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Vibeke Olsson: Vinden går över gräset (A Breeze through the Grass). Bonniers, 1997.

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Theodor Kallifatides: De sju timmarna i paradiset (The Seven Hours in Paradise). Bonniers, 1997.

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Elisabeth Rynell: Hohaj. Bonniers, 1997.

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Kjell Johansson: Huset vid Flon (The House beside Flon). Norstedts, 1997.
Lars Andersson: Platsens ande. En bok om Tage Aurell (The Spirit of the Place. A Book about Tage Aurell). Bonniers, 1995.

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Birgit Munkhammar: En piga läser (A Maid Reads). Rabén Prisma, 1998.
Gunilla Gerland: A Real Person. Life on the Outside (En riktig människa). Translated by Joan Tate. Souvenir Press, 1997.
Tomas Transtörmer: New Collected Poems. Translated by Robin Fulton. Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1997.

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Bo Carpelan: Benjamins bok (Benjamin’s Book). Schildts, 1997.

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Ulla-Lena Lundberg: Regn (Rain). Söderströms (also Bonniers), 1997.

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Elna Schdanoff & Christian Sundgren: Brevet från Sibirien (Letter from Siberia). Parts translated from Russian by Sven Vallmark. Schildts, 1997.

 

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faking.gif (12312 bytes)Carina Burman is a university teacher specializing in Swedish literature of the 17th and 18th centuries — but in recent years she has emerged as one of the most talented and exciting of Swedish novelists, receiving unusually enthusiastic reviews for Min salig bror Jean Hendrich (My Dear Brother Jean Hendrich, 1993) and Den tionde sånggudinnan (The Tenth Muse, 1996). Both are literary pastiches, mixing fact and fiction in most ingenious and entertaining fashion — the former is related to the life of the 17th-century Swedish poet and critic Johan Henric Kellgren, and the latter involves an Uppsala researcher in the early 20th century who is tracing letters written by Sophia Elisabeth Brenner, a woman poet active at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries in Sweden.

tionde.gif (24225 bytes)Sarah Death interviews Carina Burman, and introduces her translation of an extract from Den tionde sånggudinnan. (An extract from the other novel appears in the 1998 Supplement.) We also print the text of what was originally a lecture given by Carina Burman at several universities in the UK, "Faking the Eighteenth Century". In highly entertaining and instructive fashion, the author explains how she goes about creating her pastiches, and how she uses her academic expertise as the basis of her fictional writing. This essay is also available online.

Carina Burman spent several months of 1997 at the University of Cambridge, and her next novel will be set in Cambridge.
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Faking the Eighteenth Century
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Contents of this issue


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From Carina Burman's Tenth Muse


sundman.jpg (6552 bytes)Per Olof Sundman (1922-92) was one of Sweden's leading writers in the 1960s and 1970s, best known for his short stories (many of which are set in the mountains of northern Sweden where he spent some years as a hotel owner) and his novel Ingeniör Andrées luftfärd (1967), which was translated into English as Flight of the Eagle in 1970, and turned into a much-praised film. He was also active in politics for the Centre Party (a party originally representing agrarian interests) and was a member of the Swedish parliament for ten years from 1968; he was elected to the Swedish Academy in 1975. In recent years, rumours have circulated about his Nazi past, and several publications have brought Sundman and his works, as well as his life, to the forefront of Swedish attention.

Rick McGregor is a New Zealander who wrote a doctoral thesis on Sundman in 1993 (published as Per Olof Sundman and the Icelandic Sagas, Gothenburg, 1994). He has translated a little-known short story of Sundman's, "Lek" (Game), which seems to be based on the writer's experiences at a pro-Nazi demonstration in his youth, and contributes an article on Sundman's relationship with Nazism. Unlike some Swedish commentators, McGregor does not believe the silence of Sundman's last years was connected with some kind of guilty conscience: he argues that Sundman soon grew out of his mistaken early beliefs, and used his experiences to good advantage in his later writings.
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Anne Born:
New Swedish poetry from the 1990s
Anne Born is herself a poet, and has a wide experience of reading and translating Scandinavian poetry. She has been studying recent Swedish poetry and poets, and contributes a survey of recent trends and developments, with translations of a selection of representative poems into English.
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Birgitta Fransson:
Swedish books for young adults: living in the present
Birgitta Fransson is Editor in Chief of Opsis Kalopsis, a well-known Swedish journal dealing with children's literature and culture. She wrote a well-informed article for the Swedish Institute on recent developments in Swedish literature for young people, which we are pleased to reproduce in slightly adapted form.
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The latest Swedish Biennial Magazine Fair was held in Stockholm in May 1998. Swedish Book Review was the only non-Swedish exhibitor. Sarah Death, a regular contributor to SBR, has a full report on the event. The next Tidskrifts Biennalen will be held in Gothenburg in 2002.

pointer.gif (913 bytes) Official Tidskrifts Biennalen website
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© Copyright 1999 Swedish Book Review.

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Our cover pictures are taken from the book Lappia, with text and photographs by Per Erik Persson, published by Norstedts in 1998. For nearly thirty years, Persson has been working on conservation projects in Västerbotten, a province in the far north of Sweden stretching from the Gulf of Bothnia in the east to the Norwegian border in the west. "Lappia" is the name given on a map dating from the early 16th century to what is now known as Lappland, and Västerbotten covers the southern half of that area.

Persson calls his introduction "Wild Man's Country", a reference to the mediaeval concept (borrowed from Central Europe) that such a remote wilderness must be inhabited by some kind of primitive creature, half-man and half-beast. The "wild man" is incorporated into the coat of arms of Lappland, and Persson uses it as a symbol for his work and aspirations:

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Persson believes passionately that the tradition of wild nature must be maintained, even in an age which seems determined to tame, exploit and "civilize" every inch of land and water. He has lived close to that nature for many years, and his descriptions of the mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, flora and fauna (and the frequent struggles with the forces of "civilization" that threaten them) strikes a chord in anyone who has visited the area, in the spirit or in the flesh.

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Our front cover picture captures the atmosphere of reindeer herding, when the Sami herdsmen sort out which beasts are to be slaughtered, castrated or branded.

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The back cover picture is of a scene many summer tourists know as a raging torrent with rapids and waterfalls on the famous Vindel River but with a difference: this picture was taken on 20 December, 1981, when the temperature was minus thirty degrees Centigrade.

ISBN 91-1-300384-4