’Dear Bishop!’ The correspondence between Queen Victoria of Sweden and Bishop Gottfrid Billing of Lund, 1900-1924

Project: Research

Layman's description

The aim of this project is to produce a critical edition of the correspondence between Queen
Victoria of Sweden (1862-1930) and the Bishop and High Preacher to the Court, Gottfrid
Billing (1841-1925), together with a commentary situating this surprisingly straightforward
correspondence in its political and theological context.

The letters between the Crown princess/Queen and the Bishop are ‘mixed’ ones, with soulcare as only one part among others.
Connecting to Kristina Persson’s description of the functions of letters, especially the ritual function is observed: the letter as a ‘receipt’ on the life and health of the correspondent, and a wish for further contact. This function is most clear when someone from the court writes to thank Billing. Generally, this means that a correspondence cannot be understood without consideration to letters from surrounding persons.
The letters perforate the borders between male and female. Per definition letters open a sphere in between. To Perssons’s different functions, we may add this perforating, gender exceeding function.
The spiritual relation between the queen and the bishop is constructed as comfort and advices, seldom as answers to specifically spiritual questions. During the 1920s, this was also reversed, so that the queen comforted and encouraged the old bishop. Both the prayers and the silent understanding remain without traces unreachable to the researcher, but hence their existence has to be observed much more.
The queens’ letters are distinguished for their very good treatment of the Swedish language, but still with a few, remaining germanisms. Sometimes she tries to make the Swedish language more consequent than it in fact is, in constructing new forms.
The queen’s strong commitment to service and preaching is being presented.
Effective start/end date2006/01/012010/12/31