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Rebirth of an Emperor

It has been a long wait for a new translation of The Emperor of Portugallia but now it is here, to delight Selma Lagerlöf fans old and new. Translated by Peter Graves, it is the latest addition to our ‘Lagerlöf in English’ series, which was launched in 2011 with the aim of making the works of Selma Lagerlöf readily available to English-language readers in new, top-quality translations. Previously published titles in the series include: The Löwensköld Ring (2011), The Phantom Carriage (2011), Lord Arne’s Silver (2011), Nils Holgersson’s Wonderful Journey through Sweden (2013), A Manor House Tale (2015), Charlotte Löwensköld (2015), Mårbacka (2016) and Anna Svärd (2016).

The Emperor of Portugallia is a tale of the bond between parents and children; of the expectations that lie in the roles of the different family members and the conflicted feelings tied to these. The main character of the novel, who adopts the title Emperor of Portugalla as he later descends into madness, is Jan, a poor farm labourer. He becomes a father at quite a late age and, rather to his surprise, finds himself thrilled and overwhelmed with love for his baby daughter. His daughter Klara is a wilful and clever child, and their bond grows stronger as she grows older. When she reaches the age of 17, Jan finds himself in huge debt through no fault of his own, and Klara offers to help by going to the big city, Stockholm, to work and earn the money the family desperately needs. Klara leaves, and so does Jan’s sanity. He creates a fantasy world for himself; a world where his alter ego the Emperor of Portugallia resides with the Empress Klara. Despite the seeming madness of this world, it functions as a cradle of support for Jan and provides surprising insight.

This novel has been described as perhaps the most private of Selma Lagerlöf’s books. At the core of the story, we find the relationship of father and daughter – a theme Lageröf frequently returns to in her works. For this particular tragic novel, the theme led her to consider ‘a Swedish King Lear’ as a possible title. The Emperor of Portugallia, then, is a novel that explores the family and the rights and duties in the relationship between parents and children. It has been described as ‘a sermon on the fourth commandment’ – ‘Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God has commanded thee’.

Selma Lagerlöf was a popular writer during her lifetime, and when Kejsarn av Portugallien was published in 1914, it was quickly translated into an array of languages. In fact, translations of Lagerlöf’s works exist in close to fifty languages. Most of her novels were translated into English during her lifetime. But the interrelations between nations and cultures change over time, and the same is true of language and of approaches to translation. That is why it is important to renew translations and inject new life into old classics over the course of time. Each Norvik Lagerlöf volume has a ‘Translator’s Afterword’ in which a range of issues encountered by the translator can be highlighted – an aspect of the volumes that also adds to their usefulness in teaching.

Back in 1916, Velma Swanston Howard was responsible for the English translation of Kejsarn of Portugallien. She was an American of Swedish origin and by far the most prolific early translator of Lagerlöf’s works; many of her translations have been repeatedly republished up to the present day. Without her work and dedication, Lagerlöf’s novels might not have been available to English readers. But language inevitably evolves, and it was high time for a new English version of this moving classic. We hope you will enjoy it!

Get your copy of The Emperor of Portugallia here.

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Memorial Event for Professor Forsås-Scott

A memorial event will be held at UCL on the 17th May 2016 to honour the life and work of Professor Helena Forsås-Scott, a much respected Director at Norvik Press.

Nordic-Childrens-Literature-Event-Helenas-presentation-1Memorial Event for Professor Forsås-Scott
Tuesday 17 May 2016, 2-4.30pm
Haldane Room, Wilkins Building
UCL
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT

Helena joined UCL in 1994 and retired in 2010 as Professor of Swedish and Gender Studies. She was a pioneering force in Gender Studies at UCL and a much-loved colleague, supervisor, mentor and teacher in the Department of Scandinavian Studies.

Helena’s major publications include Re-Writing the Script: Gender and Community in Elin Wägner (2009), Gender-Power-Text: Gender and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Scandinavia (2004), Swedish Women’s Writing 1850-1995 (1997) and A Century of Swedish Narrative: Essays in Honour of Karin Petherick (1994).

Helena was a Director of Norvik Press and Editor of the ground-breaking translation series Lagerlöf in English.

Personal reflections
During the event there will be short contributions from some of Helena’s friends and colleagues. We would however also like to collate personal reflections from those who knew and admired Helena’s work. If you would like to share your personal reflections on Helena and her work, please email these to elettra.carbone@ucl.ac.uk

Book a place
A limited number of spaces will be available for this event so we would kindly ask those who wish to attend to book a place as soon as possible via Eventbrite: Book a Place >

Tributes
Norvik Press
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Washington
Scandinavica, An International Journal of Scandinavian Studies (pdf)
SELTA (The Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association)
Swedish Book Review
UCL

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Helena Forsås-Scott discussing “Nils Holgersson’s Wonderful Journey through Sweden” at UCL, 23 Feb 2015.

Helena Forsås-Scott will discuss Selma Lagerlöf’s Nils Holgersson’s wonderful Journey through Sweden (Norvik Press 2012 and 2014) at a panel discussion event at University College London.

On 23rd February the Department of Scandinavian Studies at UCL is hosting a panel discussion on Nordic children’s and young adult’s literature. What does writing for a young audience entail? Is writing for children any different from writing for adults? Do children’s classics age? How does modern technology affect the writing and reading processes? What is the relationship between entertainment and education? These are only some of the questions that the panellists will address from their perspective.

 The panel will consist of prominent authors and scholars:

Maria Parr

• Norwegian author Maria Parr, author of Vaffelhjarte, recently translated into English by Dr Guy Puzey (Waffle Hearts, published by Walker Books in 2014), and Tonje Glimmerdal (2009).

Harald Rosenløw Eeg

• Norwegian author and script writer Harald Rosenløw Eeg. His works include the novels Glasskår (1995, Shards of Glass), Yatzy (2004, made into a film in 2009) and Den hvite døden (2013, The White Death) and the film script for Tusen ganger god natt (2013, A Thousand Times Good Night), directed by Erik Poppe.

Merete Pryds Helle

• Danish author Merete Pryds Helle, author of a number of novels and short stories for adult and young audiences. She has recently completed her first interactive children’s story for iPads, Wuwu & Co.

Professor Helena Forsås-Scott

• Professor Helena Forsås-Scott, editor of the Norvik Press “Selma Lagerlöf in English” series, which provides English-language readers with high-quality new translations of a selection of the Nobel Laureate’s most important texts. Prof Forsås-Scott will focus particularly on Nils Holgersson’s Wonderful Journey through Sweden (translated by Peter Graves and published by Norvik Press in 2012, reissued in hardback in 2014).

Dr Erin Goeres

• Dr Erin Goeres, Lecturer in Old Norse Language and Literature, co-editor of the book Viking Age Dublin: Walking Tour and Activity Book (published by Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, University of Nottingham, 2014), presenting Viking heritage to children.

The event will take place in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL. Doors will be opening at 6.15pm and the discussion will start at 6.30pm.

Map of UCL and directions to the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre.

The panel discussion will be followed by a reception in the Garden Room, Wilkins Building, UCL, and included in the entrance fee of £5.00 are a drink and light refreshments.

 To book your ticket please use the following link to the Eventbrite page.

 If you have any questions about this event, please contact Dr Elettra Carbone.

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Helena Forsås-Scott has been awarded a prestigious prize by the Swedish Academy.

Norvik Press congratulates managing editor Professor Helena Forsås-Scott on the recognition of her work by the Swedish Academy.

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Helena Forsås-Scott

The prize, which is awarded as part of the Swedish Academy’s annual Belöningar ur Akademiens egna medel [Awards from the Academy’s Own Funds], is given to six people annually and is worth SEK 60,000. In her academic roles at University College London and The University of Edinburgh , as well as in her editorship at Norvik Press and various other publications, Helena has played a major role in celebrating and promoting Swedish literature in the UK.

Helena is currently editor of the Norvik Press “Selma Lagerlöf in English” series, which provides English-language readers with high-quality new translations of a selection of the Nobel Laureate’s most important texts and in 2014 Norvik Press published the second edition of Forsås-Scott’s book Re-Writing The Script: Gender and Community in Elin Wägner.

Norvik Press would like to extend to Helena its warmest congratulations. You can read the Swedish Academy’s announcement of the award here (in Swedish):

www.svenskaakademien.se/information/pressinformation/2014/beloningar-ur-akademiens-egna-medel

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New Release: Selma Lagerlöf’s “Charlotte Löwensköld”

Norvik Press is pleased to announce the publication of our second instalment to Selma Lagerlöf’s Ring Trilogy, the classic novel, Charlotte Löwensköld. Translated by Linda Schenck with a preface by our Selma Lagerlöf in English Series editor, Helena Forsås-Scott and a translator’s afterword. 290 pages (paperback).

A curse rests on the Löwensköld family, as narrated in the first instalment of Lagerlöf’s Ring TrilogyThe Löwensköld Ring.

Charlotte Löwensköld is the tale of the following generations, a story of psychological insight and social commentary, and of the complexities of a mother-son relationship. Charlotte is in love with Karl-Arthur – both have some Löwensköld blood. Their young love is ill fated; each goes on to marry another.

How we make our life ‘choices’ and what evil forces can be at play around us is beautifully and ironically depicted by Selma Lagerlöf, who was in her sixties when she wrote this tour de force with the lightest imaginable touch.

Selma Lagerlöf was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909.

Literary agent, Lena Stjernström, recommends Charlotte Löwensköld as the best book to buy as a Christmas gift in 2014. (Svensk bokhandel 2014)

Available at all good bookstores and online.

The Ring Trilogy by Selma Lagerlöf
The Löwensköld Ring (Norvik Press, Translated by Linda Schenck, 2011)
Charlotte Löwensköld (Norvik Press, Translated by Linda Schenck, 2014)
Anna Svärd (Norvik Press, Translated by Linda Schenck, Upcoming 2015/16)

 

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Elin Wägner’s “Penwoman”

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Elin Wägner in the 1920s. Image credit: Albert Bonniers Förlag

It’s 70 years since Elin Wägner, feminist, pacifist and pioneering environmentalist, renowned author of prose fiction and journalism, was elected to the Swedish Academy. She was only the second woman ever to be elected; the first was Selma Lagerlöf, also published by Norvik Press.

Penwoman, Wägner’s classic novel from 1910 about the Swedish campaign for women’s suffrage, translated by Sarah Death and published by Norvik Press in 2009, revolves around a young female journalist, as quick-witted as she is intrepid:

 

‘Well Penwoman, you’ll soon have driven them all away,’ said the Scanian, smugly admiring his pretty reflection in the landlady’s largest pier-glass from his vantage point in the most comfortable chair.

9781870041744Penwoman, catching her breath after the heat of the battle, looked up: ‘Oh no, do you think so? I don’t mean to. But it’s impossible for me to stay calm when anybody attacks women’s suffrage.’

‘No, it can’t be easy for someone with such a pugnacious spirit to be a woman,’ he teased. ‘Tell me, Miss Penwoman,’ he said, squinting up at her, as she stood by the door, ‘wouldn’t you love to be a man?’ Penwoman screwed up her left eye and pondered for a moment.

‘No, but wouldn’t you?’ she asked in turn.

In Sweden the novel remains one of Wägner’s best-known works. Witty and poignant Penwoman, ‘beautifully translated’ (Belletrista), offers incomparable insights into the Swedish suffrage campaign. Read more about Penwoman here.

9781909408142Also available from Norvik Press is Helena Forsås-Scott’s Re-Writing the Script: Gender and Community in Elin Wägner (2nd ed., 2014). The first full-length study in English of Wägner’s output, it covers texts representing a wide range of genres and shows some of her work to be considerably more radical than has been observed previously. The book has been described as ‘a standard work’ on Wägner (Avain – Finnish Review of Literary Studies). Read more about Re-Writing the Scriphere.

Elin Wägner’s Penwoman, translated by Sarah Death, available at all good bookstores and online.

Helena Forsås-Scott’s Re-Writing the Script: Gender and Community in Elin Wägner,(2nd ed., 2014), available at all good bookstores and online.