Article number: 578
Upsala, Leffler & Sebell, 1837–8. 8vo. viii + 334; + [ii] + 388 pp. [And:] Stockholm, P. A. Norstedt & Söner, . (=Vol. 1, pp. 17–32.) 8vo.
Contemporary Danish half calf, worn and fragile with weak joints, spine richly gilt, a little defective and joints cracked at head, some foxing to first and last leaves.
Pasted to front paste-down is upper wrapper of volume one of the poems, inscribed by Atterbom: “Till Chr. Molbech med oförändrad ungdomsvänskap från Diktaren”.
A very fine association copy of the first collected edition of Atterbom’s poems, bound with Erik Gustaf Geijer’s famous review.
Danish historian and linguist Christian Molbech (1783-1857) had first met Atterbom while travelling in Sweden in 1812. They met again when Atterbom visited Copenhagen in 1825, on which occasion Molbech saluted him with a fine poem. They also exchanged a number of letters between Copenhagen and Uppsala through the years. In 1843 Atterbom dedicated the second volume of his history of Swedish literature, Svenska Siare och Skalder, to Molbech: “Till den äldste af mina danska vänner Christian Molbech egnas dessa blad med djup tacksamhet”.
It is possible to trace the present copy of Samlade dikter in Atterbom’s and Molbech’s correspondence. On May 3, 1838 Molbech sends his thanks for part one of the poems, while part two had not yet reached him. Not knowing at this time how devastated Atterbom was by Geijer’s criticism, Molbech even stated that he agreed with it to some degree, and writes that he hopes to produce an article of his own about Atterbom’s poetry. Atterbom’s feelings about Geijer’s article in Litteratur-bladet are revealed in a long, fine letter in October. After this Molbech cautiously avoids discussing the matter in any detail, but repeats his plan to write an article, if he finds the time. (Apparently he never did.) In March 1839 he is finally able to thank Atterbom for part two of the poems, the delivery of which had been much delayed; Atterbom had sent it with a friend almost a year earlier.
Geijer’s article had not been supplied by Atterbom, (which would have been rather sensational), but by Henrik Reuterdahl (letter dated April 15, 1838). There have been different opinions on the true nature of this notorious review, which is one of a few events in 1838 which signal Geijer’s shift from conservatism to liberalism, his so-called ‘defection’. Some have regarded the article as tactless and unfair, others as fairly pointing out both the good and bad sides of Atterbom’s romantic poetry. John Landquist states that Geijer after studying the first volume intended to write a laudatory review, but changed his mind after reading Atterbom’s boastful and pretentious postscript in volume two. After the initial turmoil, Atterbom and Geijer nevertheless managed to remain friends.
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