Often referred to as Sweden’s Charlotte Brontë, Fredrika Bremer (1801–1865) was widely translated during her lifetime and became internationally acclaimed as the author of an impressive series of novels and travel books. The Colonel’s Family first appeared in two parts in 1830–31 as part of a series which she called Sketches from Daily Life – a title which at an early stage declared her lifelong preoccupation with the details of her domestic day.
What was less immediately apparent to her contemporaries was her courage in abandoning the prevailing conventions of insipid romantic fiction in order to explore more profound social and moral problems. Her novel is now recognised as a sensitive exploration of the problems of a frustrated, silenced woman, a creature of strong repressed passions, in an era of highly constrictive marital conventions. The striking narrative style is a combination of the picaresque, the sentimental, the realistic, the comic and even the farcical. This translation of a classic of Swedish literature preserves the freshness and idiosyncratic flavour of the original.
Sarah Death has over thirty years’ experience as a translator from Swedish and has won the George Bernard Shaw Prize three times. In 2014 she was awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star for services to Swedish literature. She has translated books in a wide variety of genres including children’s stories, crime fiction, literary classics such as the novels of Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf, and the work of many contemporary writers.