Karlfeldt, Erik Axel

Karlfeldt, Erik Axel
born July 20, 1864, Folkärna, Swed.
died April 8, 1931, Stockholm

Swedish poet.

His strong ties to the peasant culture of his rural homeland remained a dominant influence on his writing all his life. His essentially regional, tradition-bound poems, some published in English in Arcadia Borealis (1938), were very popular. He was elected to the Swedish Academy in 1904 and made its permanent secretary in 1912. He refused the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1918 but was awarded it posthumously in 1931.

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▪ Swedish writer
born July 20, 1864, Folkärna, Sweden
died April 8, 1931, Stockholm
 Swedish poet whose essentially regional, tradition-bound poetry was extremely popular and won him the Nobel Prize for Literature posthumously in 1931; he had refused it in 1918, at least in part because of his position as secretary to the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize.

      Karlfeldt's strong ties to the peasant culture of his rural homeland remained a dominant influence on him all his life. The peasants whom he portrayed are, as one critic put it, “in harmony with nature and the seasons”; their culture is sometimes threatened by the erotic, anarchic Pan. Karlfeldt published his most important works in six volumes of verse: Vildmarks- och kärleksvisor (1895; “Songs of Wilderness and of Love”), Fridolins visor (1898; “Fridolin's Songs”), Fridolins lustgård (1901; “Fridolin's Pleasure Garden”), Flora och Pomona (1906; “Flora and Pomona”), Flora och Bellona (1918; “Flora and Bellona”), and finally, four years before his death, Hösthorn (1927; “The Horn of Autumn”). Some of his poems have been published in English translation in Arcadia Borealis: Selected Poems of Erik Axel Karlfeldt (1938). He was a beloved Neoromantic poet whose occasional artistic complexity was emotional rather than intellectual. In time, even some of his admirers criticized him for employing his gifts so exclusively in the service of a dying local culture.

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Universalium. 2010.


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