Scandinavian literature

also called  Nordic literature 

      the body of works, both oral and written, produced within Scandinavia in the North Germanic group of languages, in the Finnish language, and, during the Middle Ages, in the Latin language.

  Scandinavian literature traditionally consists of works in modern Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, and Faroese, all members of the North Germanic group of languages. The literary works written in these languages show deep-seated common linguistic ties. The Finnish language is unrelated to the North Germanic languages; it belongs instead to the Baltic-Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric language family and is most closely related to Estonian and Karelian. Because Sweden ruled Finland for more than six centuries, Finnish literature, despite its linguistic differences, became closely intertwined with Swedish literature.

      The term Scandinavia traditionally designates the two countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula—Norway and Sweden—and Denmark. Finland and Iceland are frequently called Scandinavian countries on geographic, political, and cultural grounds. The term Nordic is often used today to refer collectively to the Åland Islands, Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

      Although the Scandinavian literatures exhibit similarities stemming from close cultural ties, they manifest differences reflective of distinct national institutions and historical and geographic conditions. They are therefore discussed separately under Danish literature, Faroese literature, Icelandic literature, Norwegian literature, and Swedish literature. Works written in Finland in the Swedish language (Finland-Swedish literature) and in the Finnish language are discussed under Finnish literature.

Additional Reading
Works that offer broad coverage of the Scandinavian literatures are Elias Bredsdorff, Brita Mortensen, and Ronald Popperwell, An Introduction to Scandinavian Literature, from the Earliest Time to Our Day (1951, reissued 1970), offering a useful short survey; Frederick J. Marker and Lise-Lone Marker, The Scandinavian Theatre: A Short History (1975); Sven H. Rossel, A History of Scandinavian Literature, 1870–1980 (1982), organized by country within each time period; Virpi Zuck (ed.), Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature (1990), assembling author entries, topical articles, and an extensive bibliography subdivided by language and category; and Paul Binding, Ray Keenoy, and Patrick Curry, The Babel Guide to Scandinavian and Baltic Fiction (1999), containing synopses and an evaluation of contemporary Scandinavian fiction translated into English.Critical studies that examine Scandinavian literature as a whole are John M. Weinstock and Robert T. Rovinsky (eds.), The Hero in Scandinavian Literature: From Peer Gynt to the Present (1975), treating film along with literary genres; John L. Greenway, The Golden Horns: Mythic Imagination and the Nordic Past (1977), studying myth and its effect on Scandinavian literature and life; Janet Mawby, Writers and Politics in Modern Scandinavia (1978), emphasizing the impact of the German occupation during World War II and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam; Faith Ingwersen and Mary Kay Norseng (eds.), Fin(s) de Siècle in Scandinavian Perspective (1993); and James A. Parente, Jr., and Richard Erich Schade (eds.), Studies in German and Scandinavian Literature After 1500 (1993).Anthologies that include a range of Scandinavian writings are Martin S. Allwood (ed.), 20th Century Scandinavian Poetry (1950); and Ingrid Clareus (ed.), Scandinavian Women Writers: An Anthology from the 1880s to the 1980s (1989).Critical studies and anthologies of the national literatures that constitute Scandinavian literature are listed separately under Danish literature, Faroese literature, Finnish literature, Icelandic literature, Norwegian literature, and Swedish literature.

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Universalium. 2010.

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