Romanen som vardagsvara : Förläggare, författare och skönlitterära häftesserier i Sverige 1833-1851 från Lars Johan Hierta till Albert Bonnier

Sammanfattning: This dissertation is a study of four Swedish publishing houses and the serialized fiction they published between 1833 and 1851. The focus is on Lars Johan Hierta’s Läsebibliothek (Readers’ Library) 1833–1851, N.H. Thomson’s Kabinetsbibliothek (Home Library) 1835–1846 and Nya Svenska Parnassen (New Swedish Parnassus) 1847–1848, Östlund & Berling’s Originalbibliothek (Original Library) 1845–1851 and Albert Bonnier’s Europeiska Följetongen (European Series) 1846–1851. Serialized fiction is defined for the purposes of this study as a series of novels published in parts on a weekly basis over the course of a year. This method enabled publishers to keep prices down and entice new readers as subscribers to the series. The concept was so successful that by 1850 two-thirds of the prose fiction published in Sweden took this form. Thus the publishers had found an effective, new channel for the circulation of fiction.For Hierta, the series served as the cornerstone of successful publishing activities. His printing press was mainly used for the publication of a daily newspaper called Aftonbladet, but his Läsebibliothek was also a cutting-edge product for reaching the general public. Hiertas’s series was mainly of translated fiction from French and English, and his most popular author was Edward Bulwer Lytton. Thomson took up competition for translated fiction in his Kabinetsbibliothek, but he gradually included more and more original Swedish fiction, his most popular author being Emilie Flygare-Carlén. Before phasing out his activities, Thomson started a series with only renowned Swedish authors, Nya Svenska Parnassen. One of his reasons for terminating his publishing activities was that a Norrköping publishing house, Östlund & Berling, began to compete with him on the Swedish fiction market, and managed to lure Flygare-Carlén over to their Originalbibliothek. Hierta, too, saw a new competitor in Albert Bonnier, who began publishing Europeiska Följetongen. Bonnier’s series included many of the most popular European authors, taken mainly from contemporary French serialized fiction.The demise of serialized fiction in Sweden was largely attributed to increased costs for postal distribution. Beginning in the mid-1840s, these series had had the advantage of being distributed postage-free, at only a low “stamp duty”. This fee wad doubled in 1851, which led to changes and gradual abandonment of the form. For a little less than two decades, serialized fiction had comprised the core of Swedish fiction publishing, and it had also gradually become the forum in which a large number of authors saw their first works published. This study therefore includes a sociological analysis of the forty-two Swedish authors whose works were included in the various series, and the analysis indicates that most of them found themselves in a position where it was becoming possible to make their livings writing for the increasingly commercialized book market. Authors had begun to write for the market, and the market opened up to them. Professional translators were also needed to keep the series running. Above all, thanks to the publishers of serialized fiction, Swedish authors were able to reach larger audiences during this period of transition when the novel was truly becoming an everyday commodity.

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