Horace Engdahl

Horace Oscar Axel Engdahl (born December 30, 1948) is a Swedish literary historian and critic. He has been the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy since 1999.


Engdahl was born in Karlskrona, Blekinge. He earned his B.A.Fact|date=October 2008 in 1970 at Stockholm University; he earned his doctoral degree (fil. dr.) in 1987, with a study on Swedish romanticism, but had meanwhile been active as a literary critic, translator and journal editor, and was one of the introducers of the continental tradition of literary scholarship in Sweden. He is currently adjunct professor of Scandinavian literature at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He speaks Swedish, English, German, French and Russian fluently.

In 1997, Engdahl became a member of the Swedish Academy, elected to the seat vacated by the death of Johannes Edfelt; in 1999, he succeeded Sture Allén as the Academy's permanent secretary, i.e. its executive member and spokesperson. As such, he has the annual task of announcing the recipient of the Nobel prize in literature to the press.

He is married to Ebba Witt-Brattström, professor of literature at the Södertörn University College outside Stockholm. Together they have three sons.


In October 2008, Engdahl told the "Associated Press" that the United States is "too insular and ignorant to challenge Europe as the center of the literary world" [http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-entertainment/20081009/EU.Sweden.Nobel.Literature/] ] and doesn't really "participate in the big dialogue of literature." [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gn-_m0gOLDlyXymX2CJHcV5HexsgD93H8F3G3] His comments generated controversy across the Atlantic, with the head of the U.S. National Book Foundation offering to send him a reading list. Engdahl was reported "very surprised" that the American reaction was "so violent". He didn't think that was he said was "that derogatory or sensational" and conceded his comments may have been "perhaps a bit too generalizing".


External links

* [http://www.svenskaakademien.se/Templates/Article1.aspx?PageID=d6324440-24ce-4f8e-b00f-90f678bfa7e3 Presentation] at the official website of the Swedish Academy

NAME = Engdahl, Horace
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Engdahl, Horace Oscar Axel (birthname)
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Swedish literary historian, Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy
DATE OF BIRTH = December 30, 1948
PLACE OF BIRTH = Karlskrona, Sweden
DATE OF DEATH = living

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