Gustaf Fröding (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈɡɵsˌtav ˈfrøːˌdɪŋ] ( ); 22 August 1860 - 8 February 1911) was a Swedish poet and writer, born in Alster outside Karlstad in Värmland. The family moved to Kristinehamn in the year 1867. He later studied at Uppsala University and worked as a journalist in Karlstad.
His poetry combines formal virtuosity with a sympathy for the ordinary, the neglected and the down-trodden. It is highly musical and lends itself to musical setting; as songs it has developed into the much wider world of popular music and frequently been re-recorded by Swedish singers like Olle Adolphson, Monica Zetterlund, the Värmland group Sven-Ingvars and recently the Swedish band Mando Diao on their album Infruset. Gustaf wrote openly about his personal problems with alcohol and women and had to face a trial for obscenity for that cause.
He is generally held to be one of the greatest poets of verse that Sweden has ever produced.
The latter part of his life he spent in different mental institutions and hospitals to cure his mental illness and alcoholism, and eventually diabetes. During the first half of 1890 he spent a couple of years at the Suttestad institution in Lillehammer, Norway, where he finished his work on his third book of poetry Stänk och flikar, which was published in 1896. He wrote much of the material at a mental institution in Görlitz, Germany. In 1896 he moved back to Sweden. But as the year neared Christmas, his sister Cecilia made the difficult decision to make him stay at a hospital in Uppsala. Under the care of professor Frey Svenson Fröding got away from liquor and women, except one, Ida Bäckman. To this day, people think that Ida Bäckman wanted to marry Fröding and corrupt him in some way. Later she wrote books but they were always judged harshly and never got good reviews. She is about to have her name cleared in Sweden. Fröding never married Ida. She was never asked to stop visiting Fröding by professor Svenson and Cecilia Fröding. Instead Fröding grew fond of a nurse named Signe Trotzig. When he left hospital in Uppsala she stayed with him to the day he died.
There is a famous Swedish play called Sjung vackert om kärlek, written by Gottfried Grafström. The play focuses on Fröding's long visit to Uppsala Hospital. There are also some flashbacks of his life before being institutionalized. One of Grafströms reasons to write the play was to clear the name of Ida Bäckman, who he thinks has gotten way to much criticism for her relationship with Fröding. The play was very popular during the 70's and had a revival in Värmland 2007. It was conducted by the Theater of Värmland at Alsters Herrgård, the very place where Fröding was born.
- Gitarr och dragharmonika (Guitar and concertina) 1891
- Nya dikter (New poems) 1893
- Räggler å paschaser (Tall tales and adventures) 1895
- Stänk och flikar (Splashes and spray) 1896
- Nytt och gammalt (New and old) 1897
- Gralstänk (Splashes of the grail) 1898
- Efterskörd (Gleanings) 1910
- Reconvalescentia (Convalescence) 1914
- Samlade skrifter 1-16 (Collected works 1-16) 1917–1922
- Brev till en ung flicka (Letters to a young girl) 1952
- Äventyr i Norge (Adventures in Norway) 1963
- Gustaf Frödings brev, 2 vol. (Gustaf Fröding's letters, 2 vol.) 1981-1982
His works in English
- Poems 1903 
- Selected Poems 1916 
- Guitar and Concertina 1925 
- Gustaf Fröding: His Life and Poetry 1986 
- Swedes On Love CD 1991 
- The Selected Poems of Gustaf Fröding 1993 
- The Complete Poems of Gustaf Fröding 1997-1999 
- The North! To the North! 2001 
- Hark to the city-life roaring!
- Dull is the boom of the rolling fray:
- Sometimes a cry goes soaring
- Shrill from the torrent spray.
- Here all is quiet,
- Quiet the water
- Sleeps in the silent bay.
- Here is all desolate seeming —
- Far are we now from reality's strand:
- Only the City of Dreaming
- Woven on water and land.
- Let your head rest now
- Here on my shoulder —
- Look o'er the taffrail's rand.
- These are no rock-reefs that glimmer
- Under our keel in the misty light:
- Seest thou not castles that shimmer,
- Seest thou the palaces bright?
- That is Atlantis,
- Dreamland's Atlantis,
- The world that was sunk in night!
- Look on the white walls shining
- There where the ways by the citadel meet
- Godlike statues are lining
- Garden and market and street.
- All is deserted,
- Memories only
- Wander with joyless feet.
- Gold gat the power for oppression:
- Lordlings of Mammon the empire seized,
- Stole all the millions' possession,
- Squandered in riot and feast.
- Luxury's conquests
- Won they, and Ruin
- Grew as the tale increased.
- Then, as the high Gods fated,
- Vanished and sank in the gulfing waves
- A people to death dedicated —
- Sank to their ocean graves:
- Splendidly gifted,
- Sunken and perished,
- Whelmed in the sunless caves.
- Thick-set corals are gleaming,
- Paving the city of dreams and of sleep:
- Sunrays like starlight seeming
- Fall on the soundless deep:
- Weeds of old ocean,
- Twining their fibres,
- Over the columns creep.
- Some day, ah some day for us too
- Dawneth our hour for the quenching of light
- Some day descends upon us too
- Sleep and eternal night —
- Waves rolling o'er us,
- Sunlight that filters
- Dim through the waters bright.
- Over our city out yonder,
- Reared on foundations of slime and sand,
- Some day the sea-waves shall wander,
- Flooding our shore and strand:
- Over us swirling,
- Over us swinging,
- Folk from an alien land.
- Gustaf Fröding New Poems 1894
- English translation by C.D. Locock
- Poems by Gustaf Fröding, trans. by Albert Björck, (Stockholm: Björck och Börjesson, 1903).
- Selected Poems by Gustaf Fröding, trans. by Charles Wharton Stork, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916).
- Guitar and Concertina by Gustaf Fröding, trans. by C. D. Locock, (London: G. Allen and Unwin, 1925).
- Gustaf Fröding: His Life and Poetry by Paul Britten Austin, (Karlstad: Föreningen Alsters Herrgård, 1986).
- Swedes On Love CD, trans. by Roger Hinchliffe, (Stockholm: Roger Records, 1991).
- The Selected Poems of Gustaf Fröding, trans. by Henrik Aspán in collaboration with Martin S. Allwood, (Mullsjö: Persona Press, 1993).
- The Complete Poems of Gustaf Fröding, trans. by Mike McArthur, several volumes, (Wintringham: Oak Tree Press, 1997-1999).
- The North! To the North!, trans. by Judith Moffett, five poets including Fröding, (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2001).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gustaf Fröding.|
- Gustaf Fröding at Open Library.
- Gustaf Fröding at Project Runeberg.
- Gustaf Fröding at Swedish Wikisource.
- Gustaf Fröding at Uppsala University.
- Samlade Skrifter at the Internet Archive.
- Gustaf Fröding at PoemHunter
- Three poems by Gustaf Fröding
- Gustaf Fröding at Find a Grave
- The uncrowned king of Swedish poetry
- Gustaf Fröding at Kuusankoski Public Library
- Gustaf Fröding at the Encyclopædia Britannica
- Selected Poems by Gustaf Fröding at the Internet Archive.
- Guitar and accordion (Gitarr och dragharmonika)
- A love song (En kärleksvisa)
- A love song and A ghazal (En ghasel)
- The old mountain troll (Ett gammalt bergtroll)
- Elin i hagen (Elin of Hagen) on YouTube
- En februarivisa (A February song) on YouTube
- Ett gammalt bergtroll on YouTube
- Ett liv efter detta (A life after this) on YouTube
- Dancing in the crossroads (Det var dans bort i vägen) on YouTube Song begins at 3:24 of medley.