Esaias Tegnér Analysis

Other literary forms

(European Poets and Poetry)

Esaias Tegnér (tehng-NAYR) wrote the vast majority of his literary output in poetic forms; however, he did write sermons (kyrklinga tal) and other ecclesiastical works in his role as bishop of Växjö, and gave orations on other writings as a member of the Swedish Academy. Perhaps the most notable of the orations was his academic address on Johan Gabriel Oxenstierna, his predecessor in the academy, in which he influentially stated that language, as such, had fallen from the pure imagistic state for which it could only be a metaphor. Both his church and secular writings show Tegnér’s considerable learning in Greek; in his lifetime, he was not only Sweden’s foremost poet but its foremost academic philologist.


(European Poets and Poetry)

Esaias Tegnér was the first Swedish writer to make a serious impact on world literature. Although Romanticism and its concomitant interest in folklore and legend played a part in this achievement, Tegnér’s influence can be attributed mainly to his aesthetic sensitivity, his distinct and independent character, and the way his verse often espoused attitudes in direct contrast to those that might have been expected of it. Tegnér also demonstrated that a poet of feeling and authenticity could also be a figure of great learning and retain a deep respect for the past.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bellquist, John Eric. “Tegnér’s First Romantic Poem.” Scandinavica 31, no. 1 (May, 1992).

Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth. “Esaias Tegnér.” In Essays on Scandinavian Literature. Reprint. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911.

Brandes, Georg Morris Cohen, and Rasmus Bjorn Anderson. Creative Spirits of the Nineteenth Century. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1923.

Hilen, Andrew R. Longfellow and Scandinavia: A Study of the Poet’s Relationship. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1947.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “Tegnér’s Frithiofs Saga.” The North American Review 45, no. 96 (July, 1837): 149-185.

“Tegnér.” The Saturday Review 60, no. 1557 (August 29, 1885): 280-282.

Werin, Algot Gustaf. Tegnér. 2 vols. Stockholm: Dictum, 1974-1976.