Vår nordiska Sappho. Antikt och modernt i Sophia Elisabeth Brenners diktning

Valborg Lindgärde, Arne Jönsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


Our Nordic Sappho. Classical and modern features in Sophia Elisabeth Brenner's poetry.

This essay explores how Mrs. Brenner made use of classical mythology and history when composing poems in Swedish. For instance, when celebrating King Charles XII's victory at Narva in 1700, she made allusions to Julius Caesar, and in her introductory poem to a guide in obstetrics she brought in Juno and Pliny the Elder. It is most interesting to notice that when she wrote a poem for a simplified version of the guide, intended for the common people, the classical figures were replaced by Biblical ones. Her choice was obviously dictated by principles of decorum. Brenner was not an unqualified admirer of antiquity, and she often claimed that contemporary Sweden had surpassed the ancients. Emphasising the present at the expense of the ancient past may have its roots in the tradition of typological interpretation. That method had originally been used to show that figures and events in the Old Testament (such as Adam or the exodus from Egypt) prefigured events in the New Testament (Christ was the second Adam; the exodus prefigured the salvation). In a similar way, contemporary Swedes could be pictured as surpassing ancient figures.
Original languageSwedish
Title of host publicationSpråkets speglingar. Festskrift till Birger Bergh
EditorsArne Jönsson, Anders Piltz
PublisherKlassiska institutionen, Lund and Skåneförlaget
ISBN (Print)91-87976-13-7
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • decorum
  • classical tradition
  • modernity
  • typology

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