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William Shakespeare

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Shakespeare, William (1564–1616), playwright, Great Britain.

Project Runeberg has published the following works by this author:

William Shakespeare (1564--1616) is probably the greatest author of modern Western civilization. Even though Project Runeberg started out with the purpose of balancing the Anglo-American cultural dominance on the Internet, Shakespeare's influence on Nordic literature is too strong for us to ignore this English author (in fact, Hamlet is based on a Danish myth first documented by Saxo, so the influence goes both ways).

Our purpose should not be to document the life and original works of Shakespeare, as several English and American digital library projects are already taking care of that, but rather to study his influence on Nordic literature and give an overview of the various translations of his works into Nordic languages. Our natural starting point will be the Swedish 19th century translations by Carl August Hagberg.

The careful reader will note that the spelling of this author's name has varied in older Swedish texts: Shakspere, Shakespere, Shakspear, etc. Project Runeberg will try to preserve the spelling used at each time. The same goes for the names of Swedish persons such as Carl / Karl and Erik / Eric.

Swedish translations

In his 1949 PhD thesis, H. W. Donner, Svenska översättningar av Shakespeare's Macbeth, Åbo Akademi, concentrates on the influences on the Swedish Macbeth translation by Eric Gustaf Geijer from the German one by Friedrich von Schiller. Of all Shakespere's dramas, Macbeth is one of first and most often translated. Geijer's was the first Swedish translation of one complete Shakespeare drama, and appeared in 1812 or 1813.

Some other early Swedish translations were made by
Georg Scheutz, Julius Cæsar, 1816
--, Köpmannen i Venedig, 1820
Sven Lundblad, Lear, 1818
Olof Bjurbäck, Hamlet, 1820
Johan Henrik Thomander, Konung Richard den andre, 1825
--, Antonius och Kleopatra, 1825
--, Muntra fruarne i Windsor, 1825
--, Som ni behagar, 1825
--, Trettondagsafton, 1825
Fredrik August Dahlgren, Romeo och Julia, 1845

The first complete and still the most famous Swedish translation of Shakespeare's dramatic works was made in the 1840s by Carl August Hagberg, comprising 12 volumes. For more information on this translation, and Project Runeberg's electronic edition of it, see our presentation of Hagberg. The final volume contains the translator's own commentary on the effort. The first review of this translation's first volume, says Molin, was published in Frey of 1847, suggesting some alterations, some of which were accepted and used in the 2nd edition.

In the 20th century, new Swedish translations of the dramas have appeared by Allan Bergstrand, Björn Collinder, Göran O. Eriksson, Britt G. Hallqvist, Per Hallström (complete), Lars Huldén, Åke Ohlmarks (complete).

Shakespeare's sonnets have been translated into Swedish by Carl Rupert Nyblom (1871), K. A. Svensson, S. C. Swahn.

För de svenska översättningarna, se under Carl August Hagberg.

Danish translations

There is no shortage of Danish translations of Shakespeare's works. For an introduction, see the article in Salmonsens konversationsleksikon (1926), which on page 318 begins a survey of modern translations to German, French, Swedish, and Danish. The first major translation to Danish was begun by P. F. Wulff and continued by Peter Foersom (1807-1825). Edvard Lembcke's translation (1845-1850) built on and perfected that of Foersom. Also Vald. Østerberg and Niels Møller have translated parts.

Other early Danish translators include Johannes Boye (published 1777), N. Rosenfeldt (1790-1792), Simon Meisling (1810), Adam Oehlenschläger (1816), Levin Christian Sander (1818), K. L. Rahbek (1827), and Sille Beyer (1850-1860).


Find other Nordic Authors named Shakespeare, others born in 1564 or deceased in 1616.
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