Lyckoriket: Studier i svensk upplysning

Translated title of the contribution: Land of Bliss: A Cultural History of the Swedish Enlightenment

Jakob Christensson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This study considers the spread, character and development of the Swedish Enlightenment from the early Age of Liberty to the late Karl lohan period. This is done in six case studies three of them biographical and three of them of a more general character partly concerned with the history of concepts; all six case studies touch on the writers' world in the period.

Chapter 1, "Dawn", discusses, after having described how the Enlightenrnent reached Sweden, among other things the meaning of the concepts philosopher and utility. Chapter 2 "The Encyclopaedist", is an account of the librarian and publicist Carl Christopher Gjörwell's attempts to publish a Swedish encyclopaedia in the 1770s and 1780s. Chapter 3, "Time for Citizens", examines the political culture of the Swedish Enlightenment, concentrating on the Gustavian era. Chapter 4, "The Journalist", is a biography of one of the few radical Swedish writers of the time, the Swedenborgian Carl Fredrik Nordenskiöld. Chapter 5, "The Bishop", is a biography of Anders Carlsson af Kullberg, a member of the Swedish Academy and finally bishop in Kalmar. Focusing on his time there (1830-1851), we get an opportunity to see the form taken in practice by the Enlightenment in the provinces. The last chapter, "Dusk", follows the Enlightenment until its complete disintegration which coincided with the fall of the society of the four estates, definitely codified in the introduction of the bicameral parliament 1866. The concept of labour, so important for the Swedish Enlightenrncnt, is also discussed.

The dissertation shows: (1) that once the Enlightenment had taken root in Sweden in the first half of the eighteenth century, it proved highly durable. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century it was still possible to find advocates of enlightenment. (2) The Enlightenment was socially conservative in character. Only for a brief period in the 1790s were there a few active radicals supporting it in Sweden. (3) The Enlightenment was scarcely in opposition to Christianity in Sweden. On the contrarv, many of its most enthusiastic representatives were clergymen, and the Enlightenment was seen by them - as by many others - as a continuation of Luther's work.
Translated title of the contributionLand of Bliss: A Cultural History of the Swedish Enlightenment
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Division of History of Ideas and Sciences
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1996 Sep 27
Print ISBNs91-7486-384-3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1996-09-27
Time: 10:15
Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset i Lundagård

External reviewer(s)

Name: [unknown], [unknown]
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: [unknown]


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History of Ideas


  • Encyclopaedism
  • History of the Book
  • Swedish Enlightenment. Cultural History
  • History of philosophy
  • Political Culture
  • Filosofins historia
  • history of ideas
  • idéhistoria


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