Erik Axel Karlfeldt

THE LAUREATE: Will complete later. I will say that Karlfeldt was probably the first laureate to be awarded the Nobel posthumously.

WHAT I’M READING: Aurora Borealis, the only collection of his work in English I could find.

REVIEW: I don’t know how to feel about Karlfeldt. On the one hand, he is almost cloyingly sentimental about how life in rural Sweden ought to be. On the other hand, though, he really was a compelling read. In am almost tempted to translate him, and that’s only partially because the translation was obnoxious. The translator dedicated the book to Robert Frost, but I think he only took the worst parts of Frost’s style to emulate. I can see why Karlfeldt was chosen under the first reading of Nobel’s will: he is an idealist through and through.

RECOMMENDED?: Eh. Arcadia Borealis is not the place to start with Karlfeldt. Apparently there’s a collection of Scandinavian poets done by a competent translator called The North! To the North! Maybe try there first?

WHAT’S NEXT: Akhenaten by Naguib Mahfouz.


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