segunda-feira, fevereiro 27, 2017

Scandinavians, by Robert Ferguson

For a number of years now I've been interested in Scandinavia and its culture, ever since I went to Copenhagen - and then to Sweden, Norway and Iceland. I can't remember what first attracted me, maybe the feeling of a very civilised atmosphere, or the beauty of the cities - Copenhagen and Stockholm - so different from our southern European ones, or the extraordinary natural wonders of Norway - the Lofoten islands, the fjords - and later the magical nature of Iceland - but by that time I was already totally hooked. I think it started with a combination of the urban civilisation and the natural beauty, that led me to try to know its culture, and then the somewhat austere and melodic literature kept my interest going - I was already acquainted with Selma Lagerlöf, Karen Blixen and Peter Hoeg, and then I discovered Vilhelm Moberg, Per Lagerkvist, Knut Hamsun, Halldor Laxness. I even learnt a little Swedish, enough to read Swedish papers on the internet, watch some Swedish television series - like Äkta Människor, Bron and 1790 - and even read a couple of books in Swedish.

So, I was curious to read this book, its premise being to analyse Scandinavian culture and "soul" and understand its allure. And it certainly is a very interesting and readable book. The author is obviously in love with Scandinavian culture, he is extremely knowledgeable and the book is very informative, full of interesting anecdotes and details about Scandinavian history and culture, from the Vikings to Bergman, Queen Kristina to Breijvik, the Icelandic assembly to Denmark under Struensee, Knut Hamsun and Edvard Munch to the Abba. All that makes for a very interesting reading, but do we really get that soul of the North the author is searching? I don't think so; it certainly helps us to understand its civilisation and mores, but I guess there is something unfathomable in what attracts us to a culture that's not rationally understandable, and that's part of its fascination.

Sem comentários: