Ingrid Mathilda Malling (early pseudonym Stella Kleve ), was a Swedish novelist born January 20, 1864 on Oskar Farm in southern Sweden and died in Copenhagen in 1942. Daughter of a Danish cargo owner, she graduated in Stockholm 1883 and was married in 1890 to merchant Peter Malling in Copenhagen.
Controversial Early Works
Malling debuted in 1885 with the novel, Berta Funcke, followed in 1888 by the novel Alice Brandt, both published under the pseudonym Stella Kleve. Her contemporaries took note of her sensually colored depictions of young women, but posterity now considers her decadent late-naturalistic depiction of women as the female counterpart of the male breakthrough novels of this time. She had early contact with Ola Hansson who frequently corresponded with her and also courted and proposed to her. Hansen portrayed, after a difficult break-up with Malling, as a woman of the future. The young poets and the students Emil Kléen and Albert Sahlin wanted to do a small decandent publication (which never came out) in the late 1880s, but failed to persuade her.
After a long silence she resumed her writing, but in a very different character, with a novel about the First Consul), which was a huge success thanks to her skillful manipulation of historical material. Her work became hailed as well-done historically and even safe for family reading and included Madam Governor of Paris (1895, 2nd ed 1898), Eremitageidyllen (1896), Shooting on Munkeboda (1897), the play Lady Leonora (1897), Doña Ysabel (1898), Ladies in Markby (1901), Daybreak (1902), Nina (1903), Little Marica and Her Husband (1904), Lady Elizabeth Percy (1905), Her Hero (1906), Mary Stuart (1907), Nina's Honeymoon (1908), Karl Skytles wife (1909), Sisters of Ribershus (1910) and The White House And Red House (1911). The later work shows lush, but little original, storytelling imagination and a lot of free floating. The historical novels found a large readership in the early 1900s, but her breakthrough novel Berta Funcke still arouses interest.
Malling's first two novels were heatedly discussed. Swedish feminist Ellen Key was famously connected with her.
Malling's first novel was cited by prominent American psychologist G. Stanley Hall, in his pioneering study of adolescence, as a parallel to the famously frank (and accusedly egotistic) authors Marie Bashkirtseff, Hilma Angered Strandberg, and Mary MacLane.
- An Encyclopedia of continental women writers, Volume 2, by Katharina M. Wilson (1991)
- Works by Mathilda Malling at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Mathilda Malling at Internet Archive