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The Poet in the Pulpit. On the Publication of the Ecclesiastical Orations of Esaias Tegnér

Conference paper
Authors Barbro Wallgren Hemlin
Published in 7th Annual International Conference on Language, Literature and Linguistics (L3 2018). Singapore, June 25-26, 2018.
ISSN 2251-3566
Publisher Global Science and Technology Forum (GSTF)
Place of publication Singapore
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Swedish
Language en
Keywords Esaias Tegnér, edition philology, methodology, explanatory notes, dating of manuscripts, cross-boundary
Subject categories Languages and Literature, Religious Studies, Church history, Specific Literatures, Specific Languages


Abstract Esaias Tegnér (1782–1846) was during his own lifetime one of Sweden’s most influential cultural figures. He was a poet, a member of the Swedish Academy, a professor of Greek at the University of Lund, a politician, a priest, and, subsequently, the bishop of the diocese of Växjö. He maintained regular correspondence with nearly all of his most prominent contemporary countrymen, and was, mainly through his epic poem Frithiofs saga (1825) internationally renowned as well. Frithiofs saga was translated into a number of languages and printed in edition upon edition. Tegnér was what modern society would refer to as a best-selling author. Today he is primarily remembered for his letters and some of his poetry. His ecclesiastical orations – sermons and other speeches given within the boundaries of his official position – are not as famous as the poems and the letters, however they are now being published in a richly commented, critical edition for The Tegnér Society. The first volume, covering the ecclesiastical orations from 1813–1823, was released in the early summer of 2017. The paper describes the edition project. Strong emphasis is placed on dates. In the course of the work many previously un-dated manuscripts have been successfully dated, and the process which leads to reliable dating calls for the use of many different sorts of methodology. The process resembles detective work, where a variety of clues, both within and without the manuscript itself, at last lead to reliable knowledge of when the speech was given. Examples of what this sort of work might look like and which methods might come into use are provided in the paper. Furthermore, the paper addresses the work with the so-called explanatory notes and provides an example of what the work concerning this particular aspect of a text-critical edition might look like. The author concludes that the traditional research field edition philology is essentially interdisciplinary. It is, using one of the watchwords of our time, cross-boundary, and cannot be subsumed under any specific academic discipline. It is furthermore ascertained in the paper that work within the domain of edition philology may be likened to basic research in the natural sciences. A text edition based on sound methodological principles is of enduring value and will be continually consulted by other researches over a long period of time.

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