A Short History of Sweden

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Read Books, 2008 - History - 460 pages
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Originally published in 1934. PREFACE: AT the conclusion of the World War, when there were so many readjustments to be made and when the need for strengthening Swedens connexions with the West in vari ous ways was urgently felt, an investigation was set on foot in London with a view to ascertaining how in the sphere of culture this end could best be attained, and a compre hensive plan of work was drawn up covering several years. This investigation also involved an inquiry into what instruction about Sweden was available for the rising generation in British schools and universities. The results were as surprising as they were disappointing. The in formation obtained indicated that there was very little being done in this field and that what was written on the subject was often misleading or uninformative, although in general the feeling with regard to Sweden appeared to be friendly. No one will deny that for the proper understanding of the cultural life of a people it is essential to have some knowledge of its historical development, of its particular problems at the present day, and of the main outlines of its literature. There appeared to exist, however, no work to which the youth of England could turn for information of this kind regarding Sweden and accordingly the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation made it one of its first tasks to fill the gap that had thus been made manifest. As originally drawn up, the scheme included works on Swedish literature and art as well as on Swedish history. The late Professor J. G. Robertson, of London University, undertook to prepare an Outline of the History of Swedish Literature, but at his much regretted death he had only been able to write part of this history. Arrangements have, however, been made for its completion, and it is hoped that it will be ready for publication in the near future. An account of the History of Swedish Art was further contemplated, and negotiations were entered into for its preparation, but have had to be deferred for the present owing to lack of funds. The third part of the scheme was a volume on Swedish History, and arrangements for this had already been com pleted before it was known that other books in English on the same subject were about to appear. The present work, however, is on a different plan from these, and should serve a different purpose. It gives a proportionally larger space to modern history and modern Sweden than is usual in ordinary historical summaries. It is also intended not so much for the professional historian as for the general pub lic, and more especially for younger readers hence, the Foundation is particularly desirous that the book should find a place in the public libraries of Great Britain and the Empire. The Board of Education, which was at the outset in formed of our plan, has given its encouragement to the present undertaking. The invitation to prepare this historical outline was originally extended Lo Professor Nils Ahnlund, of Stock holm University. When he, however, found himself unable to undertake the work owing to lack of time, he recom mended in his stead Mr. Ragnar Svanstrom, Licentiate of Philosophy, and Baron C. F. Palmstierna, Doctor of Philosophy, both of the University of Stockholm. Professor Ahnlund lias, however, been kind enough to make some valuable suggestions for the treatment of the period covered by Mr. Svanstroms manuscript, which here appears in a somewhat abridged version pp. 1-188. The later sections pp. 189-431 have been written by Dr. Palm stierna, who has also contributed parts of the chapter on Gustav II Adolf. The drafts for the maps in this volume have been sup plied by Gcncralstabens Litografiska Anstalt

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