Söderberg, Hjalmar

Söderberg, Hjalmar

(yäl`mär sö`dərbĕr'yə), 1869–1941, Swedish writer. He is known for a lyrical but melancholic and disillusioned mood. Söderberg's first novel, Martin Birck's Youth (1901, tr. 1930), is the story of a dreamer living a drab middle-class existence. His novels are unsurpassed at evoking Stockholm life at the turn of the century; major examples include Doctor Glas (1905, tr. 1963) and the semidocumentary The Serious Game (1912). Söderberg's play Gertrud (1906) was made into a film by Carl Dreyer. Selections of the his short stories, mocking complacency and deceit, have been translated by C. W. Stork (1935) and Carl Lofmark (1987).

Söderberg, Hjalmar


Born July 2, 1869, in Stockholm; died Oct. 14, 1941, in Copenhagen. Swedish writer.

Söderberg attended the University of Uppsala in 1890 and 1891. His style, psychologically subtle, polished, and concise, evolved in his first books, the novel Delusions (1895) and the short-story collection Little Histories (1898). These books are tinged with philosophical melancholy and skeptical irony. Söderberg treated the conflict between the ideal and the real in the autobiographical novel Martin Birck’s Youth (1901), the novel Doctor Glas (1905; Russian translation, 1971), which does not deny the right of a “strong man” to commit a crime, the novel The Serious Game (1912; Russian translation, 1971), and the play Gertrud (1906; Russian translation, 1908).

Söderberg disagreed with the religious conception of morality; he introduced this theme in Doctor Glas and developed it in his treatises, including Jesus Barabbas (1928). He denounced fascism in the 1930’s.


Samlade verk, vols. 1-10. Stockholm, 1943.
In Russian translation:
Rasskazy. In the collection Shvedskaia novella XIX–XX vekov. Moscow, 1964.


Veselovskii, Iu. A. Ial’mar Sederberg. (Critical essay.) Moscow, 1911.
Stolpe, S. Hjalmar Söderberg. Stockholm, 1934.
Bergman, B. Hjalmar Söderberg. Stockholm, 1951.