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On shilling printing and popular literature

Shilling
Painting from 1565 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Available at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in America.

"The world of fairy tales and contemporary events, accidents, disasters, murders and astonishing anecdotes - everything was turned into two, four, eight or sixteen pages and spread from village to village, from farm to farm." - Dick Claésson, Editor-in-Chief, Literature Bank

Literature bank has today posted a large number of folk tales and shilling prints for free reading. Very interesting! Or how about the shilling print from 1892 about The madness in Hälsingland about the criminal gang in Delsbo and the maple syrup nest in Alfta, or why not the one about Gråbergs-Gubben from 1887 or The strange fates of Lasse-Majas from 1916.

The Skilling print is a simple printed matter of just a few pages that was printed in large editions and sold cheaply (hence the name) to the general public. Skilling prints are mostly associated with songs, but could also contain fairy tales, legends, ghost stories, true accounts of horrible crimes, and more.

Coin value shilling was introduced in Sweden in 1776, the same year as the thirteen United States declared themselves independent, and at the beginning of the 19th century it was common for a simple printed matter to cost just one or a few shillings. According to this historical price converter 1 shilling in 1800 is equivalent to a little over 5 crowns in today's money. These printed items have existed in Sweden since the end of the 16th century, but were given the name shilling pressure relatively sent.

In the songs of the shilling print and the pamphlets of the folktale the people found their literature. Here the events of the time were transformed into poems and songs. Here the story was passed on to the next generation. Here the city's violence was at the service of the shiver, "androm to varnagel." It was here that soothsaying stories were told, and here that tavern epistles were transformed into woodcut pamphlets. The world was reflected in this literature of the people; it was also a literature that lived on alongside the intrusion of modernity. While a hare chased a steam locomotive along the tracks for the first time, someone fell asleep, by the light of a kerosene lamp, to the story of the Master Cat in Boots. The world of fairy tales and contemporary events, accidents, disasters, murders and astonishing anecdotes - everything was rearranged into two, four, eight or sixteen pages and spread from village to village, from farm to farm.

Dick Claésson, hEditor-in-Chief, Literature Bank

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