The ancient Scandinavian Vikings had a well-deserved reputation for being a warlike people, as shown by Egils saga, a story of the life of Egil Skallagrimsson. War remains a significant theme in Scandinavian literature, from Thomas Kingo's glorification of the Danish campaign against Sweden during the years 1675-1679, to Ib Michael's opposition in 2004 to the war in Iraq. In Fänrik Stals sagner (1848-1860; tr. The Tales by Ensign Stal, 1925), Johan Ludvig Runeberg memorialized the war between Sweden and Russia in 1808-1809, through which Finland was lost by Sweden and became a Russian grand duchy. The war between Denmark and Prussia, in which Denmark lost a great deal of territory, shows up in novels by the Danes Herman Bang and Jens Peter Jacobsen, as well as in a novel by the Norwegian Herbjørg Wassmo, Lykkens sønn (1992; tr. Dina's Son).
   Although the Scandinavian countries were neutral during World War I, the experience of that war changed long-standing social customs and structures of economic power, as depicted in Johan Borgen's Lillelord trilogy (1955-1957) and Jacob Paludan's two-volume family saga Jørgen Stein (1932-1933; tr. 1966). Finland, however, experienced a brutal civil war in 1918, which deeply affected Finnish literature, for example, the work of Elmer Diktonius and Frans Eemil Sillanpaa. The latter produced two internationally successful novels related to the war, Hurskas kurjuus (1919; tr. Meek Heritage, 1938) and Nuorena nukkunut (1931; tr. The Maid Silja, 1933). Another great Finnish war novel is Väinö Linna's Tuntematon Sotilas (1954; tr. The Unknown Soldier, 1957), set during Finland's Continuation War (1941-1944).
   Both Denmark and Norway were attacked by Germany on 9 April 1940 and remained occupied for the next five years. Sweden remained neutral, while Iceland was used by American and British troops as a base. Postwar Scandinavian literature was deeply affected by the war experience. In Denmark, Kaj Munk lost his life because of his resistance to the Nazis. The Danish resistance was described by Tage Skou-Hansen in De nøgne træer (1957; tr. The Naked wassmo, herbjørg • 283
   Trees, 1959) and Dagstjernen (1962; Day Star). In Norway Jens Bjørneboe discussed the government's treatment of wartime collaborators in Under en hardere himmel (1957; Under a Harder Sky), while Sigurd Hoel, Aksel Sandemose, and Tarjei Vesaas probed the psychology of those who turned to Nazism. Knut Hamsun, Norway's greatest writer at the time, sided with the Nazis. In Sweden Paär Lagerkvist published his novel Dvaärgen (1944; tr. The Dwarf, 1945), an exploration of the Nazi personality. The Swede Eyvind Johnson (1900-1976) explored the problem of evil in his novel Drommar om rosor och eld (1949; tr. Dreams ofRoses and Fire, 1984) and of war itself in his Krilon trilogy (1941-1943). The Icelander GuSmundur Gislason Hagalin described the effects of the war on Icelandic society in Modir Island (1945; Mother Iceland).
   The 1950s brought the Cold War and widespread concern about nuclear destruction. The worry about nuclear war can be observed in the work of Bo Carpelan, Sophus Claussen, Per Christian Jersild, and Svava Jakobsdottir. The Vietnam War was bitterly opposed by many Scandinavian writers, particularly the Swedes Sara Lidman, Lars Forssell, Goäran Sonnevi, and Tomas Transtroämer.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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