Authors: Verner von Heidenstam

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Swedish novelist and poet

Author Works

Long Fiction:

Endymion, 1889

Hans Alienus, 1892

Karolinerna, 1897-1898 (A King and His Campaigners, 1902; better known as The Charles Men, 1920)

Heliga Birgittas pilgrimsfärd, 1901

Folkungaträdet, 1905-1907 (The Tree of the Folkungs, 1925)

Short Fiction:

Sankt Göran och draken, 1900

Skogen susar, 1904


Vallfart och vandringsår, 1888

Dikter, 1895

Nya dikter, 1915

Sweden’s Laureate: Selected Poems of Verner von Heidenstam, 1919

Sista dikter, 1942

Fragment och aforismer, 1959


Från Col di Tenda till Blocksberg, 1888

Renässans, 1889

Pepitas bröllop, 1890 (with Oscar Levertin)

Modern Barbarism, 1894

Klassicitet och germanism, 1898

Tankar och tekningar, 1899

Svenskarna och deras hövdingar, 1908-1910 (The Swedes and Their Chieftains, 1925)

Dagar och händelser, 1909

Proletärfilosofiens upplösning och fall, 1911

Vad vilja vi?, 1914

När kastanjerna blommade, 1941

Tankar och utkast, 1941

Brev: 1884-1890, 1999 (letters; Magnus von Platen, editor)


Samlade skrifter, 1909-1949 (23 volumes)


One of the great Swedish writers, Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam (HAY-duhn-stahm) spent several years traveling through the Mediterranean regions and the East. When he returned to Sweden in 1887, he became a vigorous participant in the literary struggles against a rising Scandinavian realism. His first publication was a book of poems based on Eastern themes, Vallfart och vandringsår (pilgrimage and years of wandering), which appeared in 1888. With this work, the Swedish literary renaissance began, and Heidenstam contributed to its romanticist development with more Oriental themes in Endymion and in Hans Alienus, which is both an epic dealing with a journey in search of beauty and a metamorphosed autobiography.{$I[AN]9810000157}{$I[A]Heidenstam, Verner von}{$I[geo]SWEDEN;Heidenstam, Verner von}{$I[tim]1859;Heidenstam, Verner von}

Then, like Gustaf Fröding and August Strindberg, Heidenstam turned to literary theory and criticism. He attacked the sordid realism of the time and espoused a vigorous nationalism and historicism. Heidenstam’s creative work expressing these values began with the book of poems Dikter in 1895 and attained powerful expression in The Charles Men, a cycle of tales that glorified Sweden in the time of Charles XII. A note of stoic moralism is sounded in Heliga Birgittas pilgrimsfärd (St. Bridget’s pilgrimage), and the historical theme is further developed in The Tree of the Folkungs, a novel set in medieval Sweden and dealing with the rise of the powerful Folkung dynasty that flourished in the thirteenth century. A year after the 1915 publication of his Nya dikter (new poems), he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and two years before his death in 1940 he received the Henrik Steffens Prize. He ranks with Selma Lagerlöf among the leading romanticists of his day.

BibliographyBlankner, Frederika, ed. The History of Scandinavian Literatures. 1938. Reprint. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1966. Contains a bibliography of Heidenstam in English translation, along with a brief discussion of the author.Brantly, Susan. “Heidenstam’s Karolinerna and the Fin de Siècle.” In Fin(s) de Siècle in Scandinavian Perspective, edited by Faith Ingwersen and Mary Kay Norseng. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1993. A critical study.Bredsdorff, Elias, Brita Mortensen, and Ronald Popperwell. An Introduction to Scandanavian Literature from the Earliest Time to Our Day. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970. Places Heidenstam in the context of Swedish authors in the period from the 1890’s to about 1910.Gustafson, Alrik. A History of Swedish Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1961. Includes a discussion of Heidenstam.Gustafson, Alrik. Six Scandanavian Novelists: Lie, Jacobsen, Heidenstam, Selma Lagerlöf, Hamsun, Sigrid Undset. 1940. Reprint. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1966. The essay on Heidenstam is considered one of the best brief critical studies of him in English.Rossel, Sven H. A History of Scandinavian Literature, 1870-1980. Translated by Anne C. Ulmer. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. Includes a discussion of Heidenstam.
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