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Nordic antiquity and "extreme political correctness gone mad"

Share on FacebookShare on WhatsAppShare on TelegramShare on X (Twitter)“Det är ett utslag av en extrem politisk korrekthet som är förljugen.” Så säger Lars Lönnroth, professor emeritus i litteraturvetenskap vid Göteborgs universitet, i en intervju med Tidskriften Respons om attityden hos statliga myndigheter att förminska och undvika […]

"It's a manifestation of extreme political correctness that is paralysed."

So says Lars Lönnroth, Professor Emeritus of Literary Studies at the University of Gothenburg, in an interview with Respons magazine about the attitude of state authorities to diminish and avoid the Old Norse in various contexts. As examples of authorities he mentions Swedish Institute and Riksantikvarieämbetet.

We know from the Icelandic sagas and other sources about the ancient Nordic world that it was sometimes violent and, as Lönnroth describes it, that "laws together with honour and honour formed an important basis for the social community". But one might ask whether it was really more violent than the no less than eleven wars fought between the powers of Sweden and Denmark from the early 16th century until 1814.

But when it comes to the ancient part of our history, Lönnroth says that "official Sweden is ashamed of it and would rather have people admire social welfare, our skilled society builders, modern industry and technology."

Examples from the article on political correctness:

"I myself have noticed how the Swedish Institute and also the National Heritage Board have tried to avoid the Old Norse in various contexts. When UNESCO launched a World Heritage project a few years ago on Viking Age monuments in places like Birka in the Nordic countries, the Swedish National Heritage Board withdrew from the collaboration. In the other Nordic countries, no one understood what the Swedish representatives were up to."

This is just one of many examples of how history is falsified. As Vilhelm Moberg wrote in the article "How history is falsified":

" ... How does falsification of history work? The answer is: by selection and omission.

Nor does the history of the new age convince me. Not because what is written there is wrong or inaccurate, but because there is so much that has not been included. What is not there leads me to distrust the work of historians. By this omission the picture of the past is falsified for us."

Article at Respons magazine is definitely worth a few minutes of your time if you are interested in our Nordic antiquity and the Icelandic fairy tales, which are the main focus of the article.

As you can read in the article, Lönnroth has been researching Icelandic literature since the late 1950s, and is one of the main translators in a large Nordic project that has produced a new translation of the Icelandic sagas in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. He has been responsible for two of the most famous stories: the Laxdalinger saga and the Njal saga.

Here is the website for the new translation

You can find older translations cheaper at e.g. Book exchange or the library, e.g. the one of Hjalmar Alving from 1935 or a later one of Åke Ohlmarks (who has been criticised for taking a little too much creative license with his translations).

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