Scandinavian Literature in Translation

I don't read much "capital 'L' Literature". I prefer Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Biographies and History. Most of what I read is looked on as trash by the literati. However, I read some "literature" when I was in college and pick some up every once in a while.

Lately, I found myself craving a glance into Scandinavian society that was not to be afforded by the usual travel guidebooks. Progressives often complain of the Eurocentricity of our society and school system. Actually, it's even worse than that. If you go into any decent bookstore, you can find books on England, Germany, France and Russia/U.S.S.R. (thanks to the Cold War). For certain periods, you can find books on Italy or Spain. That's about it. It's much harder to find books on other European cultures. Those in search of Scandinavian history or literature in translation from Scandinavia will be looking quite a while (if they don't live in Minnesota).

Thanks to Swede-L, I heard about the Martin Beck Mysteries written by husband-and-wife authors Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Although I am not a fan of mysteries, I was desperate enough for a look at Scandinavian society that I thought I would give them a try. Their mysteries are set in late 60s/early 70s Sweden. The nominal protagonist is Police Detective Martin Beck. You can link below to my reviews of the books as I read them.

In Ross Shideler's Scandinavian Literature class at UCLA, I was exposed to P.C. Jersild's Children's Island. I would like to try reading this book in the original Swedish someday, but am happy I have a copy of the English translation. I just checked out a copy of his House of Babel at the Berkeley Public Library and hope to report back on it in a couple weeks. - I read the book and liked it a lot, but I didn't write about it at the time. I'm afraid that my recollections are probably too hazy to write a review at this time.

Reviews of Scandinavian Books

Scandihoovian Obsessions Spidra's Vortex Menu Yak Back to Spidra

Last modified on 6/26/98