Transnational exchange between British and Swedish periodicals in the 1830s and 1860s

Cecilia Wadsö Lecaros
Lund University

The focus of this paper is the migration and transnational influence
of British nineteenth-century periodicals concerned with social
reform. Several Swedish nineteenth-century periodicals were modelled
on British forerunners, and translations and adaptations of British
articles were published in order to present and promote new ideas. By
analysing how social reform ideas that were first presented in British
periodicals were transferred to Sweden, this paper will discuss the
role thus played by the British press in the development of a Swedish
movement for popular adult education in the early 1830s and in the
development of a Swedish debate on the woman question in the early

Swedish translators and publishers of social-reform texts often had an
agenda of their own, which affected the way in which British source
texts were translated and presented to the Swedish audience. In this
paper, I will argue that the way in which texts were translated as
well as other forms of communicative exchange between British and
Swedish writers and publishers with joint interests in social reform
must be taken into account for an assessment of the transnational
exchange of ideas.

The first part of the paper will show how periodicals that were
published through the agency of The Society for the Diffusion of
Useful Knowledge in the early 1830s (The Quarterly Journal of
Education and The Penny Magazine) were important not only for the
formation of a similar society in Sweden, but also for setting up
Swedish journals with the purpose of educating adult, often
working-class, readers. Swedish periodicals incorporated translations
and adaptations of British material, and, importantly enough, the
transnational exchange was to some extent reciprocal, as The Society
for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge commissioned articles about
Scandinavian circumstances from Swedish writers for its widely read
periodical publications.

The second part of the paper will discuss how the British periodical
press thirty years later, in the early 1860s, provided the emerging
Swedish emancipation movement with inspiration and argument.
Sweden’s first feminist periodical Tidskrift för hemmet contained
numerous translations from British periodicals, which were adapted to
suit a Swedish readership. The English Woman’s Journal was held up
to Swedish readers as a model, and pieces of fiction were derived from
Cornhill Magazine and Household Words, for instance.

Newspapers and Periodicals in Britain and Ireland from 1800 to 1900