The violent controversy that broke out in 1911 between Strindberg and Heidenstam left Strindberg triumphant in the social field and Heidenstam triumphant in the literary field. But it actually marked the end of their great age. The new literature – in which the importance to which history and criticism assumed (H. Schück, M. Lamm, F. Böök, A. Nilsson, Ruben G. son Berg, Sweden Hedén, etc.) is symptomatic – he was formed in the experience of the art of both, but he went looking for new and proper ways. For Sweden 2019, please check philosophynearby.com.
The elegant refinement of H. Söderberg was succeeded, in the psychological novel, by the critical pessimism of Sweden Lidman and the realistic analytic vivisection of the Selambs by Sweden Siwertz. In poetry with a social background, leftist tendencies were accentuated with the “proletarian novel” by KG Ossiansnilsson, M. Koch, etc., and with the lyrics of D. Andersson. Even in women’s literature, from the pathetic lyricism of Ellen Key – which in her day had moved Europe – there was the resolute realistic modernism of the novels of Marika Stjernstedt, Elin Wägner and Agnes von Krugenstjerna. And of course he took advantage of this reborn taste “for concrete things, seen up close”, the tradition of country poetry: which even in the age of naturalism had found suasive accents in the lyrics of AU Bååth and had been a starting point and point arrival – among many more dangerous adventures – for O. Hansson, Markurell i Vadköping, H. Bergman: now also Elin Wägner turned to the peasant novel with Åsa – Hanna ; and in the North, already evoked with impressionistic power by P. Molin, it developed to epic tones, following the impulse of Den stora vreden by O. Högberg, a new poem of which L. Nordström is the most colorful interpreter. Gradually each region had its own poet.
On the other hand, a humanistic current was once again spreading; and – while Heidenstam himself rose to the high and serene Goethean humanity of his last poems – the meditative poet of nature and apostle of classicism W. Ekelund gradually rose to honor. Especially in opera – between the grave and sad pathos of B. Bergman, the impetuous lyricism of Siwertz and the fresh bourgeois bohème by B. Sjöberg – gradually matured – with A. Oesterling and his group in Sweden, with E. Zilliacus and his group in Finland – an art that, without emphasis, looks at the now great now humble aspects of life, and welcomes their images in the unity of harmonious moods: Zilliacus has been led to a “sunny spiritual closeness” to Italy which has often inspired him; Oesterling has ascended from it to the calm vast breath of the last “Songs of the sea”.
Behind the poets of the newest generation is instead the great experience of the world war which even in neutral Sweden had the most varied resonances. Among many young people the social pathos developed towards revolutionary extremist attitudes leading to a poetry of Whithmannian forms and of Bolshevik inspiration (A. Lundquist, H. Martinson, etc.). Others, on the other hand, were pushed towards a religious catharsis or towards an individualism of intimate gatherings and lyrical impulses (R. Jändel, B. Sprong, I. Sjögren, N. Svanberg, K. Asplund, GM Silfverstolpe, etc.). Above all, the various expressions of the intellectual crisis that crossed Europe in the post-war period: expressionism, relativism, freudism, surrealism, etc., also found echo in Sweden. The volume of Sven Stolpe, Två generationer (1929) constitutes a living document of this condition of spirits. But it is a world in the making, in which it is difficult to establish perspectives. The most prominent personalities are – alongside Pär Lagerquist, poet, thinker and playwright – E. Blomberg, E. Lindorm, Sten Selander, lyrical poets with a genuine vein and with a personal accent.