Norvik Press reissues Fredrika Bremer's 1830 classic "The Colonel's Family"

Jan 18, 2023
Dimitris Passas

Often referred to as the Swedish Charlotte Brontë, Fredrika Bremer (1801–1865) is considered to be a literary pioneer and the woman whose work heralded the modern novel as we came to know it. The Colonel’s Family first appeared in two parts in 1830–31 as part of a series which she called Sketches from Daily Life, and its English translation was first published by Norvisk Press in 1996. The reissuing of the title was announced by the translator, Sarah Death, known for her exquisite work on the transcription of major Nordic authors from a variety of genres such as Håkan Nesser, Kristina Ohlsson, Linn Ullmann and others. Death wrote in her Linkedin profile: "In her 2022 study of the triumphal progress of the novel, literary critic Ingrid Elam attributes the big breakthrough of the novel in Sweden to Fredrika Bremer's Familjen H*** (1830). My translation of this surprisingly meta novel with its original and resourceful housekeeper narrator is now available in a striking new edition from #NorvikPress". Thematically, Bremer's classic dwells on the repression of woman while in terms of narrative style "a combination of the picaresque, the sentimental, the realistic, the comic and even the farcical" (read the full description here. Bremer's endeavor stands out due to its audacity as her text explores burning social and ethical problems rather than resorting in the easy form of the romantic fiction which was dominant at the time. The Colonel's Family is a must-read for all literature fans and especially for those who are interested in the evolution of the novel form in Sweden.

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