"Med blod man våra åkrar sköljer": folk och dygd i Bengt Lidners Ode til Finske Soldaten<\i>


  • Anna Cullhed Uppsala universitet




Bengt Lidner, people, citizen, virtue, literature, Anjala league


Bengt Lidner's poem ‘Ode to the Finnish Soldier' from 1788 was written during the Swedish war with Russia. This paper argues that Lidner took part in Gustav III's staging of the war by accusing the officers of the so-called Anjala league of treachery, and at the same time turning to ‘the people' for support. ‘The people' were defined as subjects of the Swedish crown from the core parts of the realm, today's Finland and Sweden, irrespective of language or ethnicity, but sharing a common and glorious history. Lidner combines a cosmopolitan perspective with a patriotic tendency in his poem. Some of the central concepts of the ode, such as ‘citizen' and ‘citizen-ness', carry potentially republican and egalitarian connotations, but this tendency is counteracted by the poet's obvious praise of the king. Lidner's ode stands as an example of the ambivalent use of political concepts during the late eighteenth century, the very concepts that would transform into the key concepts of nineteenth-century nationalism.


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Author Biography

Anna Cullhed, Uppsala universitet

ANNA CULLHED (f. 1966) är docent i litteraturvetenskap vid Uppsala universitet och forskare vid Svenska Akademien. Hon har skrivit om Lidners författarskap i Hör mänsklighetens röst: Bengt Lidner och känslans språk (Lund, 2011). Hennes forskningsintressen omfattar poesi, poetik och retorik från 1600-tal till 1800-tal och känslornas historia. Sedan 2009 är hon ordförande i det Svenska Sällskapet för 1700-talsstudier