Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Folketuna farm

Folketuna farm (FOL-keh-too-nah). Fictional farm in East Gothland that is associated with the eleventh century origins of the powerful Folkung family—a bleak union between the Swedish peasant, former Viking, and greedy robber Folke Filbyter and the daughter of Jorgrimme, a Finnish dwarf and magician. Although the richest farm in the region, Folketuna’s appearance, a symbolic reflection of its owner’s crude and ignoble character, presents a stark contrast to the noble and well-kept farm of Ulv Ulvsson that is the seat of an old aristocratic Swedish family, whose symbol is a centuries-old linden tree. Representative of the clash between the desire for material profit and questionable morality on one hand, and pure Swedish blood and respectable wisdom on the other, the opposition between the two farms turns also into the spiritual battleground on which Christianity meets and defeats Nordic paganism.

Bellbo estate

Bellbo estate. Seat of Earl Birger, the most powerful of the Folkungs, each of whose sons, Valdemar and Magnus, becomes a ruler of Sweden in the thirteenth century. This locale stands out as a portrayal of a peculiar merger in space and time of medieval Christianity. The second part of the novel, “The Bellbo Heritage,” opens on a Wednesday during Holy Week when pagan spring customs were still practiced. This is further elaborated on by the symbolic fusion between native and foreign traditions, between Sweden’s ancient heroic past, signaled by the sacred sword...

(The entire section is 631 words.)

The Tree of the Folkungs Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Gustafson, Alrik. Six Scandinavian Novelists. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1940. A chapter on Heidenstam provides biographical information, including the origins of Heidenstam’s ideas about depicting the beginnings of his nation.

Zuck, Virpi, ed. Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1990. Entry on Heidenstam places the poet and writer in his historical and literary contexts. Discusses Heidenstam’s nationalistic enthusiasms.