Modern Swedish Masterpieces (1923) by Various (Hallström, Heidenstam, Siwertz & Söderberg) [Fiction/Prose]

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Post by LectorRecitator » January 18th, 2019, 2:36 pm


∙ Title: Modern Swedish Masterpieces, Short Stories Selected And Translated
∙ Authors: Hallström, Per (1866–1960), Heidenstam, Verner von (1859–1940), Siwertz, Sigfrid (1882–1970) & Söderberg, Hjalmar (1869–1941)
∙ Editor: Stork, Charles Wharton (1881–1971)
∙ Translator: Stork, Charles Wharton (1881–1971)
∙ Publisher: E. P. Dutton
∙ Date/Edition/Impression: © 1923


"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 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 everyone 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."


Readability Information

249 pages, divided into 21 short stories of—most of them—short and moderate length, plus 2 pages of Preface.
Some metrical compositions included in certain short stories. No illustrations in text.
Total: 251 Pages

Lector Recitator’s Readability Rating

Not in regards to Subject Matter or Overall Length, but Structure
(i.e., Division of written material into Chapters/Sections & Subchapters/Subsections and their individual length)

∙ 1/5: Laborious
∙ 2/5: Challenging
∙ 3/5: Readable
4/5: Quite Readable ←
∙ 5/5: Exceedingly Readable

«ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ»/"the unexamined life is not worth living"

(Plato, Apology: 38a. Translated by H. N. Fowler)

History Of Sculpture
R. W. Livingstone
Ancient Greek Literature
A. Fortescue

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