Search results for "Edith Södergran"

A sense of order

30 June 1987 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Solveig von Schoultz

Solveig von Schoultz. Photo: Charlotta Boucht

That Solveig von Schoultz occupies the position of ‘grand old lady’ of Finland­-Swedish poetry is beyond question; yet it is an epithet that fits her badly. It all too easily suggests the image of a stern and queenly poetess, an Edith Sitwell, Marianne Moore or Gabriela Mistral. The poetesses of Scandinavia are, by and large, less solemn – more gentle and down-to-earth, even when they grow older and wiser and ascend some of Parnassus’s more elevated thrones.

Solveig von Schoultz has, of course, had a long journey to the top. She has behind her twelve collections of poetry, at least fifteen volumes of prose, and an even greater number of plays for radio, television and theatre, spanning a good fifty years’ acitivity as a writer.

In this long artistic career there is both continuity and development. It might be said that the continuity is represented by the fact that from the very beginning she has preferred to describe women – their daily lives, their loves, thoughts, impulses, relationships. But since so much in the world of women and in women’s thinking has changed during the decades since her literary debut in the 1930s, both her themes and her outlook have necessarily altered, too. Among other things, she has had many of her early, then only half-developed ideas taken up by a later generation, and has thereby had them given back to her renewed. As a feminist she has always been one of the least militant, and for a short time some of her younger co-sisters were uncertain about the strength of her commitment to the Cause. More…

Love and marriage

31 October 2013 | Authors, Interviews

Sanna Tahvanainen. Photo: Cata Portin

Sanna Tahvanainen. Photo: Cata Portin

Victoria, a lonely, restricted child, grows up to be a mother of nine; in the eyes of the world, she is enormously powerful. The love she feels for her husband is equally strong. In constant, troubled search of herself as a woman, Victoria lives a long life.
Sanna Tahvanainen’s character is a queen – but her novel, Bär den som en krona (‘Wear it like a crown’, 2013) a surprising, rich portrait of a woman, is almost completely lacking in descriptions of Victoria’s regal duties. This extract is set at the opening of the London International Exhibition of Industry and Art in 1851. Janina Orlov interviews the author.

JO: How did you decide on Queen Victoria? I remember you once commented that you only had a very general picture of her, but once you started rooting around you must have found a wealth of information.

ST: I didn’t make any sort of concrete decision to write a book about her; she fascinated me in a peculiar way. I would return to her every time I was working on a new collection of poetry; I’d already written so much poetry that there was almost a hint of routine about it all, this was something I could really get my teeth into. Because we know so little about Victoria’s childhood, I actually had quite a lot of freedom. Of course, there are reams of books about her! But I’ve never found a novel about her.

JO: How did you go about creating her voice? More…