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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

Meine lieben fellow-pupils: Edith Södergran’s Hidden Multilingualism

From the book Hidden Multilingualism in 19th-Century European Literature

  • Sabira Ståhlberg


One of the most famous Swedish-language poets, Edith Sodergran (1892-1923), was also one of the most multilingual writers in Northern Europe. She had knowledge of at least seven languages and wrote in five, yet published only in Swedish. Sodergran’s childhood in multilingual Saint Petersburg, her education in the German-language school St. Petrischule, and travels in Europe, formed a polyglot globetrotter and world citizen, whose linguistic and cultural competences are only beginning to be appreciated in recent years; Sodergran’s multilingualism has however not been researched in depth. This study discusses the multilingualism in the life of this versatile writer and tries to reconstruct her multilingual biography based on fragmentary archive material. It also provides some examples of how her poetry reflects the multidimensional and multilingual world she lived in, and asks the question if her multilingualism was really hidden or has just been overlooked.

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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