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The Swedish Academy ( sv, Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King
Gustav III Gustav III (29 March 1792), also called ''Gustavus III'', was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Queen Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. Gustav was a vocal opponent of ...

Gustav III
, is one of the Royal Academies of
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
. Its 18 members, who are elected for life, comprise the highest
Swedish language Swedish ( ) is a North Germanic language The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germ ...
authority. Outside Scandinavia, it is best known as the body that chooses the laureates for the annual
Nobel Prize in Literature ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , caption = , awarded_for = Outstanding contributions in literature , presenter = Swedish Academy The Swedish Academy ( sv, Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, is one of the Roya ...
, awarded in memory of the donor
Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectu ...

Alfred Nobel
.


History

The Swedish Academy was founded in 1786 by King
Gustav III Gustav III (29 March 1792), also called ''Gustavus III'', was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Queen Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. Gustav was a vocal opponent of ...

Gustav III
. Modelled after the
Académie française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
, it has 18 members. It is said that Gustaf III originally intended there to be twenty members, half the number of those in the French Academy, but eventually decided on eighteen because the Swedish expression ''De Aderton'' – 'The Eighteen' – had such a fine solemn ring. The academy's motto is "Talent and Taste" (''"Snille och Smak"'' in Swedish). The academy's primary purpose is to further the "purity, strength, and sublimity of the
Swedish language Swedish ( ) is a North Germanic language The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germ ...
" (''"Svenska Språkets renhet, styrka och höghet''") (Walshe, 1965). To that end the academy publishes three
dictionaries A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refe ...

dictionaries
. The first is a one-volume spelling dictionary called ''
Svenska Akademiens ordlista ''Svenska Akademiens ordlista'' (, "Word list of the Swedish Academy"), abbreviated SAOL, is a Spelling#Spelling standards and conventions, spelling dictionary published every few years by the Swedish Academy. It is a single volume that is conside ...
'' (''SAOL''). The second is a multi-volume dictionary, edited on principles similar to those of the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'', entitled ''
Svenska Akademiens Ordbok #REDIRECT Svenska Akademiens ordbok file:SAOBtotal2014.jpg, A complete set of ''Svenska Akademiens ordbok'', as of late 2014. The majority of the volumes remain unbound in this set. ''Svenska Akademiens ordbok'' (), abbreviated SAOB, is a dictionary ...

Svenska Akademiens Ordbok
'' (''SAOB''). The ''SAOL'' has reached its 14th edition while the first volume of the ''SAOB'' was published in 1898 and, as of 2017, work has progressed to words beginning with the letter "Ä" (which is the second-to-last letter of the alphabet). The third is a two-volume dictionary edited at Gothenburg University and titled ''Svensk ordbok utgiven av Svenska Akademien'' ('Swedish dictionary published by the Swedish Academy'); it covers modern Swedish and includes pronunciations, etymologies etc, as well as definitions and some examples. The building now known as the
Stockholm Stock Exchange Building The Stock Exchange Building () is a building originally erected for the Stockholm Stock Exchange between 1773 and 1778 from construction drawings by Erik Palmstedt. The stock exchange moved out of the building completely in 1998. It is located on t ...
was built for the bourgeoisie. The bottom floor was used as a trading exchange (this later became the stock exchange), and the upper floor was used for balls, New Year's Eve parties, etc. When the academy was founded, the ballroom was the biggest room in Stockholm that could be heated and thus used in the winter, so the King asked if he could borrow it. The academy has had its annual meeting there every year since, attended by members of the Swedish royal family. However, it was not until 1914 that the academy gained permanent use of the upper floor as their own. It is here that the academy meets and, amongst other business, announces the names of
Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, busines ...
laureates. This task arguably makes the academy one of the world's most influential literary bodies. Members are elected by a secret ballot in the Academy and before the result is made public it must be submitted to the Academy's Patron, the
King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government, Chapter 1, Article 5. which is a constitutional monarchy, constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system.Parliam ...
, for his approval. Members of the Academy include writers, linguists, literary scholars, historians and a prominent jurist. Initially writers were in the minority in the Academy, but during the twentieth century the number of writers grew to represent more than half of The Eighteen. The Swedish Academy have a long history of being a heavily male dominated institution, but the Academy has recently moved towards better equality. Since 20 December 2019 one third of the chairs belong to female Academy members. Prior to 2018 it was not possible for members of the academy to resign; membership was for life, although the academy could decide to exclude members. This happened twice to
Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt Count Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt (russian: Граф Густав-Маврикий Максимович Армфельт, Romanization of Russian, tr, ; 31 March 1757 – 19 August 1814) was a Finnish people, Finnish-Swedish people, Swedish-Russian peo ...

Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt
, who was excluded in 1794, re-elected in 1805 and excluded again in 1811. In 1989,
Werner Aspenström
Werner Aspenström
,
Kerstin Ekman Kerstin Lillemor Ekman, née Hjorth, (born 27 August 1933 in Risinge, Finspång Municipality, Finspång, Östergötland County) is a Swedish novelist. Life and career Kerstin Ekman wrote a string of successful detective novels (among others ''De ...
and
Lars Gyllensten Lars Johan Wictor Gyllensten (12 November 1921 – 25 May 2006) was a Sweden, Swedish author and physician, and a member of the Swedish Academy. Gyllensten was born and grew up in a middle-class family in Stockholm, son of Carl Gyllensten and Ing ...

Lars Gyllensten
chose to stop participating in the meetings of the academy, over its refusal to express support for
Salman Rushdie Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (born 19 June 1947) is a British Americans, British-American novelist and essayist of Indian people, Indian descent. His work, combining magical realism with Historical novel, historical fiction, is primarily concerned ...

Salman Rushdie
when Ayatollah Khomeini condemned him to death for ''The Satanic Verses'', and in 2005,
Knut Ahnlund Knut Emil Ahnlund (24 May 1923 – 28 November 2012) was a Swedes, Swedish literary historian, writer, and member of the Swedish Academy. Ahnlund, who was born in Stockholm, was an expert on 19th and 20th century Nordic, especially Danish, li ...
made the same decision, as a protest against the choice of
Elfriede Jelinek Elfriede Jelinek (; born 20 October 1946) is an Austrian playwright and novelist. She is one of the most decorated authors writing in German today and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004 for her "musical flow of voices and counter- ...
as Nobel laureate for 2004.
Associated Press The Associated Press (AP) is an American non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...

Associated Press

"Who Deserves Nobel Prize? Judges Don't Agree"
''
MSNBC MSNBC is an American news News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different Media (communication), media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, or through ...
'', 11 October 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
On 25 November 2017,
Lotta Lotass Britt Inger Liselott Lotass Hagström, better known as Lotta Lotass (born 28 February 1964 in Gagnef Municipality, Gagnef, Dalarna County), is a Sweden, Swedish writer. She holds a PhD of Comparative literature from the University of Gothenburg, ...
said in an interview that she had not participated in the meetings of the academy for more than two years and did not consider herself a member any more.
Dag Hammarskjöld Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld ( , ; 29 July 1905 – 18 September 1961) was a Swedish economist and diplomat who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations The secretary-general of the United Nations (UNSG or SG) is t ...

Dag Hammarskjöld
's former farm at
Backåkra
Backåkra
, close to
Ystad Ystad (; older da, Ysted) is a Urban areas in Sweden, town and the seat of Ystad Municipality, in Scania County, Sweden. Ystad had 18,350 inhabitants in 2010. The settlement dates from the 11th century and has become a busy ferryport, local admin ...

Ystad
in southern Sweden, was bought in 1957 as a summer residence by Hammarskjöld, then Secretary-General of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
(1953–1961). The south wing of the farm is reserved as a summer retreat for the 18 members of the Swedish Academy, of which Hammarskjöld was a member. On 11 April 2019, the academy published its
financial statement Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal records of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity. Relevant financial information is presented in a structured manner and in a form which is easy to un ...
s for the first time in its history. According to it, the academy owned financial assets worth 1.58 billion
Swedish kronor The krona (; plural: ''kronor''; currency sign, sign: kr; ISO 4217, code: SEK) is the official currency of Sweden. Both the ISO code "SEK" and currency sign "kr" are in common use; the former precedes or follows the value, the latter usually fo ...
at the end of 2018 (equal to $170M, €150M, or £130M).


2018 controversies

In April 2018, three members of the academy board resigned in response to a sexual-misconduct investigation involving author
Jean-Claude Arnault Jean-Claude Arnault (; born 15 August 1946), known in Swedish media as ("the cultural personage", but commonly translated literally as "the cultural profile"), is a French-Swedish convicted sex offender. He worked as a photographer and is the f ...
, husband of board member Katarina Frostenson. Arnault was accused by at least 18 women of sexual assault and harassment; he denied all accusations. The three members resigned in protest over the lack of appropriate action against Arnault. Two former permanent secretaries,
Sture Allén Sture Allén (born 31 December 1928) is a retired Swedish professor of computational linguistics at the University of Gothenburg, who was the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy between 1986 and 1999. Born in Gothenburg, he was elected to c ...
and
Horace Engdahl Horace Oscar Axel Engdahl (born 30 December 1948) is a Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * ...
, called the current leader,
Sara Danius Sara Maria Danius (5 April 1962 – 12 October 2019) was a Swedish literary critic and philosopher, and a scholar of literature and aesthetics. Danius was professor of aesthetics at Södertörn University, docent of literature at Uppsala Univers ...
, a weak leader. On 10 April, Danius resigned from her position with the academy, bringing the number of empty seats to four. Frostenson voluntarily agreed to withdraw from participating in the academy, bringing the total of withdrawals to five. Because two other seats were still vacant after the Rushdie affair, this left only 11 active members. The scandal was widely seen as damaging to the credibility of the Nobel prize in Literature and the authority of the academy. "With this scandal you cannot possibly say that this group of people has any kind of solid judgment," noted Swedish journalist Björn Wiman. On 27 April 2018, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority opened a preliminary investigation regarding
financial crime Financial crime is crime committed against property, involving the unlawful conversion (law), conversion of the ownership of property (belonging to one person) to one's own personal use and benefit. Financial crimes may involve fraud (cheque fraud ...
linked to an association run by Arnault and Frostenson, which had received funding from the academy. On 2 May 2018, the Swedish King amended the rules of the academy and made it possible for members to resign. The new rules also state that a member who has been inactive in the work of the academy for more than two years can be asked to resign. Following the new rules, the first members to formally be granted permission to leave the academy and vacate their chairs were
Kerstin Ekman Kerstin Lillemor Ekman, née Hjorth, (born 27 August 1933 in Risinge, Finspång Municipality, Finspång, Östergötland County) is a Swedish novelist. Life and career Kerstin Ekman wrote a string of successful detective novels (among others ''De ...
, Klas Östergren, Sara Stridsberg and
Lotta Lotass Britt Inger Liselott Lotass Hagström, better known as Lotta Lotass (born 28 February 1964 in Gagnef Municipality, Gagnef, Dalarna County), is a Sweden, Swedish writer. She holds a PhD of Comparative literature from the University of Gothenburg, ...
. On 4 May 2018, the Swedish Academy announced that following the preceding internal struggles the Nobel laureate for literature selected in 2018 would be postponed until 2019, when two laureates would be selected.


Awards and prizes

Since 1901, the Swedish Academy has annually decided who will be the laureate for the
Nobel Prize in Literature ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , caption = , awarded_for = Outstanding contributions in literature , presenter = Swedish Academy The Swedish Academy ( sv, Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, is one of the Roya ...
, awarded in memory of the donor
Alfred Nobel Alfred Bernhard Nobel ( , ; 21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist. He held 355 different patents A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectu ...

Alfred Nobel
. The Swedish Academy annually awards nearly 50 different prizes and scholarships, most of them for domestic Swedish authors. Common to all is that they are awarded without competition and without application. The
Dobloug Prize The Dobloug Prize ( sv, Doblougska priset, no, Doblougprisen) is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. The prize is named after Norwegian businessman and philanthropist Birger Dobloug (1881–1944) pursuant to his bequest. T ...
, the largest of these at $40,000, is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction.


The Big Prize

Swedish: Stora Priset, literally the Big Prize, was instituted by King
Gustav III Gustav III (29 March 1792), also called ''Gustavus III'', was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Queen Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. Gustav was a vocal opponent of ...

Gustav III
. The prize, which consists of a single gold medal, is the most prestigious award that can be awarded by the Swedish Academy. It has been awarded to, among others,
Selma Lagerlöf Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf (, , ; 20 November 1858 – 16 March 1940) was a Swedish author and teacher. She published her first novel, ''Gösta Berling's Saga'', at the age of 33. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, w ...

Selma Lagerlöf
(1904 and 1909),
Herbert Tingsten Herbert Lars Gustaf Tingsten (17 March 1896 – 26 December 1973) was a Swedish Political science, political scientist, writer and newspaper publisher. He was a professor of political science at Stockholm University from 1935 to 1946, and execut ...
(1966),
Astrid Lindgren Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (; ; 14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002) was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. She is best known for several children's book series, featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil i Lönneberga, Emil of Lönneber ...
(1971),
Evert Taube Axel Evert Taube (; 12 March 1890 – 31 January 1976) was a Swedish author, artist, composer and singer. He is widely regarded as one of Sweden's most respected musicians and the foremost troubadour of the Swedish ballad tradition{{Use dmy dates, ...

Evert Taube
(1972) and
Tove Jansson Tove Marika Jansson (; 9 August 1914 – 27 June 2001) was a Swedish-speaking population of Finland, Swedish-speaking Finnish author, novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author. Brought up by artistic parents, Jansson studied art from ...
(1994).


Other awards

The academy awards around 50 prizes each year. A person does not have to apply nor compete for the prizes.
Full list of awards
(in Swedish)


Current members

The current members of the Swedish Academy listed by seat number:


Permanent secretaries


See also

*
List of members of the Swedish Academy This is a list of members of the Swedish Academy by seat number. The dates shown indicate the terms of the members, who generally serve for life except for Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt who was excluded twice. On 2 May 2018, the Carl XVI Gustaf of Swede ...
*
List of language regulators This is a list of bodies that regulate standard languages, often called language academies. Language academies are motivated by, or closely associated with, linguistic purism and Prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige, and typically publish Linguis ...
*
Bellman Prize The Bellman Prize ( sv, Bellmanpriset) is a literature prize for "an outstanding Swedish poet" awarded yearly by the Swedish Academy ( sv, Svenska Akademien) The prize was first established by Anders Zorn (1860-1920) and his wife Emma Lamm (1860 ...
*
Dobloug Prize The Dobloug Prize ( sv, Doblougska priset, no, Doblougprisen) is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. The prize is named after Norwegian businessman and philanthropist Birger Dobloug (1881–1944) pursuant to his bequest. T ...
*


References


Other sources

* Walshe, Maurice O'Connell (1965). "Introduction to the Scandinavian Languages", Andre Deutsch Ltd., 1st edition, p. 57


External links

* *
SAOL on the web
– Free
SAOB on the web
– Free {{Authority control 1786 establishments in Sweden Organizations established in 1786