Frans Michael Franzén
Frans Michael Franzén
Painting by Johan Gustaf Sandberg in 1823.
Franzén was born in Oulu (Swedish: Uleåborg), Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland, which at the time was an integral part of Sweden. At thirteen he entered the Royal Academy of Turku, where he attended the lectures of Henrik Gabriel Porthan (1739-1804), a pioneer in the study of Finnish history and folklore. He graduated in 1789, and became eloquentiae docens in 1792. Three years later he started on a tour through Denmark, Germany, France and England, returning in 1796 to accept the office of university librarian at Turku in Finland. In 1801 he became professor of history and ethics, in 1808 he was elected a member of the Swedish Academy and in 1815 a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Finland was ceded by Sweden to Russia in 1809 after the Finnish War, and Franzén relocated to Kumla, Sweden, where he was appointed parish priest in the diocese of Strängnäs (1810), minister of the Klara Church in Stockholm (1824) and bishop of Härnösand (1831). He died at Säbrå parish.
Franzén's son-in-law was Anders Abraham Grafström, the poet and historian. Grafström, who served alongside him in the Swedish Academy, was Franzén's biographer.
From the autumn of 1793, when his Till en ung Flicka and Menniskans anlete were inserted by Kellgren in the Stockholmspost, Franzén grew in popular favour by means of many minor poems of singular simplicity and truth, such as Till Selma, Den gamle knekten, Riddar St Göran, De Små blommorna, Modren vid vaggan, Nyårsmorgonen and Stjernhimmelen. His songs Goda gasse glaset töm, Sörj ej den gryende dagen förut, Champagnevinet and Beväringssång were widely sung, and in 1797 he won the prize of the Swedish Academy by his Sång öfver grefve Filip Creutz.
After 1797, his muse, touched with the academic spirit, grew more reflective and didactic. His longer works, as Emili eller en afton i Lappland, and the epics Svante Sture eller mötet vid Alvastra, Kolumbus eller Amerikas upptäckt and Gustaf Adolf i Tyskland (the last two incomplete), though rich in beauties of detail, are far inferior to his shorter pieces.
The poetical works of Franzén are collected under the title Skaldestycken (7 vols., 1824-1861); new ed., Samlade dikter, with a biography by A. A. Grafström (1867-1869); also a selection (Valda dikter) in 2 vols. (1871). His prose writings, Om svenska drostniningar (Åbo, 1798; Örebro, 1823), Skrifter i obunden stil, vol. i. (1835), Predikningar (5 vols., 1841-1845) and Minnesteckningar, prepared for the Academy (3 vols., 1848-1860), are marked by faithful portraiture and purity of style.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Franzén, Frans Mikael". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. This work in turn cites:
- B. E. Malmström, in the Handlingar of the Swedish Academy (1853, new series 1887), vol. ii.
- S. A. Hollander, Minne af F. M. Franzén (Örebro, 1868)
- F. Cygnaeus, Teckningar ur F. M. Franzéns lefnad (Helsingfors, 1872)
- Gustaf Ljunggren, Svenska vitterhetens häfder efter Gustaf III.'s död, vol. ii. (1876).
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Gustaf Fredrik Gyllenborg
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