In 1946 English replaced German as the foreign “first language” to be taught in the Swedish school system. The process of replacing German with English had been going on for some time, but there had certainly been voices raised against the reform. German elite culture had a strong standing among Swedish intellectuals and studying German was considered essential in getting access to the deep currents of European history and civilisation. By the mid-40s, however, opposition against English as first language was hard to find. German had become tainted by the atrocities of World War II and it was clear that the future belonged to the Anglo-Saxon cultural sphere.Yet in Germany, Sweden would keep its allure. The image of Sweden in the German context can be described as almost utopian during the second half of the 20th century: the country that is what Germany could have been.This book discusses Swedish-German relationships during the 20th century and what shaped them; the reception of Swedish literature historically and its role today, in the shadow of the successful Swedish crime novel; the changing perception of Sweden in German media and the limitations of the “designed” image of Sweden. In a time when German and Swedish cultural relations are growing stronger again, is Sweden still going to be perceived as “Swetopia”?
Images of Sweden III
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