Frans Mikael Franzen - Encyclopedia




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FRANS MIKAEL FRANZEN (1772-1847), Swedish poet, was born at Uleaborg in Finland on the gth of February 1772. At thirteen he entered the university of Abo, where he attended the lectures of H. G. Porthan (1739-1804), a pioneer in the study of Finnish history and legend. He graduated in 1789, and became "eloquentiae docens" in 1792. Three years later he started on a tour through Denmark, Germany, France and England, returning in 1796 to accept the office of university librarian at Abo. In 1801 he became professor of history and ethics, and in 1808 was elected a member of the Swedish Academy. On the cession of Finland to Russia, Franzen removed to Sweden, where he was successively appointed parish priest of Kumla in the diocese of Strengnas (1810), minister of the Clara Church in Stockholm (1824) and bishop of Hernosand (1831). He died at Sabra parsonage on the 14th of August 1847. From the autumn of 1793, when his Till en ung Flicka and Menniskans anlete were inserted by Kellgren in the Stockholmspost, Franzen grew in popular favour by means of many minor poems of singular simplicity and truth, as Till Selma, Den gamle knekten, Riddar St Goran, De Smd blommorna, Modren vid vaggan, Nyarsmorgonen and Stjernhimmelen. His songs Goda gosse glaset tom, Sdrj ej den gryende dagen forut, Champagnevinet and Bevdringssdng were widely sung, and in 1797 he won the prize of the Swedish Academy by his Sang ofver grefve Filip Creutz. Henceforth his muse, touched with the academic spirit, grew more reflective and didactic. His longer works, as Emili eller en afton i Lappland, and the epics Svante Sture eller motet vid Alvastra, Kolumbus eller Amerikas upptdckt and Gustaf Adolf i Tyskland (the last two incomplete), though rich in beauties of detail, are far inferior to his shorter pieces.

The poetical works of Franzen are collected under the title Skaldestycken (7 vols., 1824-1861); new ed., Samlade dikter, with a biography by A. A. Grafstrom (1867-1869); also a selection (Valdes dikter) in 2 vols. (1871). His prose writings, Om Svenska drottningar (Abo, 1798; Orebro, 1823), Skrifter i obunden stil, vol. i. (1835), Predikningar (5 vols., 1841-1845) and Minnesteckningar, prepared for the Academy (3 vols., 1848-1860), are marked by faithful portraiture and purity of style. See B. E. Malmstrom, in the Handlingar of the Swedish Academy (1852, new series 1887), vol. ii.; S. A. Hollander, Minne of F. M. Franzen (Orebro, 1868); F. Cygnaeus, Teckningar ur F. M. Franzens lefnad (Helsingfors, 1872); and Gustaf Ljunggren, Svenska vitterhetens hafder efter Gustaf III.'s dod, vol. ii. (1876).

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