Aktrisens böcker: Beata Charlotta Ekermans bibliotek 1790


  • Margareta Björkman




Beata Charlotta Ekerman, theatre, book history


In this article I discuss a collection of books that belonged to Beata Charlotta (Charlotte) Ekerman (1758-1790), an actress at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm. Ekerman became the mistress of Prince Charles, brother of Gustav III. The prince dismissed her for another woman and she was suspected of infanticide and slander against the king. The governor of Stockholm, Carl Sparre, helped her to avoid the Spinning House, but she was exiled and lived in Paris between 1782 and 1786. In 1784 she travelled to Italy, where she had been invited by a Neapolitan duke. Thanks to Ekerman's letters to Sparre it is possible to follow her journey from the papal court in Rome to the royal court at Naples. She spent her last years in Stockholm, now mistress of the Dutch ambassador and accused of espionage. The aim of this article is to study the interrelation between the owner and her books, on the basis of a list of Ekerman's books included in the estate inventory drawn up after her death. A selection of these books is discussed with particular regard to language and genre. The collection, described in the inventory as consisting mainly of theatrical pieces and French novels, turns out to have had a wider range, thus revealing its owner's ambition to transgress the stereotypical image of the eighteenth-century woman.


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Author Biography

Margareta Björkman

MARGARETA BJÖRKMAN (f. 1942) är professor emerita i litteratursociologi. Hennes forskningsområden omfattar kommersiella lånbibliotek, romanen som genre, läsvanor och översättning. Bland hennes publikationer finns Läsarnas nöje: kommersiella lånbibliotek i Stockholm 1783-1809 (1992), Original och översättning: om två romaner av Restif de la Bretonne (1996) och Catharina Ahlgren: ett skrivande fruntimmer i 1700-talets Sverige (2006). Hon har även gett ut antologin Böcker och bibliotek: bokhistoriska texter (1998).