Sweden and Visions of Norway: Politics and Culture, 1814-1905 (Hardback)H.Arnold Barton
Hardback Published: 31/12/2002
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H. Arnold Barton investigates Norwegian political and cultural influences in Sweden during the period of the Swedish-Norwegian dynastic union from 1814 to 1905. After a proud medieval past, Norway had come under the Danish crown in the fourteenth century and had been reduced to virtually a Danish province by the sixteenth. In 1814 Denmark relinquished Norway, which became a separate kingdom, dynastically united with Sweden with its own constitutional government. Disputes during the next ninety-one years caused Norway unilaterally to dissolve the tie in 1905. Barton is the first historian to look beyond the cultural conflicts and examine the impact of the union on internal developments, particularly in Sweden. Prior to 1814, Norway, unlike Sweden, had no constitution and only the rudiments of higher culture, yet paradoxically, Norway exerted a greater direct influence on Sweden. Reflecting a society lacking a native nobility, Norway's 1814 constitution was - with the exception of that of the United States - the most democratic in the world. It became the guiding star of Swedish liberals and radicals striving to reform the antiquated system of representation in their parliament. Norway's cultural void was filled with a stellar array of artists, writers, and musicians, led by Bjoornsjerne Boornson, Henrik Ibsen, and Edvard Grieg. From the 1850s through the late 1880s, this wave of Norwegian creativity had an immense impact on literature, art, and music in Sweden. By the 1880s, however, August Strindberg led a revolt against an exaggerated "Norvegomania" in Sweden. Barton sees this reaction as a fundamental inspiration to Sweden's intense search for its own cultural character in the highly creative Swedish National Romanticism of the 1890s and early twentieth century.
Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press