Letters of a Learned Lady : Sophia Elisabeth Brenner's Correspondence, with an Edition of her Letters to and from Otto Sperling the Younger

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Sophia Elisabeth Brenner (1659-1730) was Sweden's first great female poet, writing and publishing her poems over a period of fifty years. She was also, however, a prolific letter writer.

The dissertation is based on an inventory of all the preserved letters to and from her written in Latin, Swedish, French and Italian. Her Neo-Latin correspondence with the Dane Otto Sperling the Younger is presented in a critical edition with English translation and commentary. The other preserved letters are presented in English summaries.

In her letters, Sophia Elisabeth Brenner appears to be very conscious of her role and clear about her ambitions. Brenner's correspondence provides evidence that she was indeed a professional author in the sense that she wrote on commission and was normally paid a certain amount of money for her poems. Through Brenner's correspondence, her professional life, her network and "marketing" strategies are presented. Moreover, her role as a linguistic patriot (one who intentionally contributes to the development of the native language, in this case Swedish) is highlighted.

Further, the letters are discussed in their literary and social context, in particular the correspondence with Otto Sperling the Younger. This particular correspondence documents the contact between a learned man and a learned woman in Scandinavia in the early 18th century. It lasted for twelve years and comprises twenty-six letters. Literary models for the correspondence are taken up as well as the view on woman revealed in these letters. The stylistical and syntactical particuliarities in these specimina of Neo-Latin Latin are analyzed.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • eulogies, occasional poetry, letters, professional author, gynaecea, 18th century, correspondence, Otto Sperling the Younger, Sophia Elisabeth Brenner, learned woman, epistolography, Humanities, Humaniora, Latin language, Latinska språket
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2006 Nov 17
  • Latin
Print ISBNs91-22-02157-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2006-11-17 Time: 10:15 Place: Humanisthusets hörsal, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonavägen 12, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Helander, Hans Title: Prof. Affiliation: Uppsala University ---

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