Johan Henrik Kellgren
(1 December 1751 – 20 April 1795) was a Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...
A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement. Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive , negative , or balanced...
He was born at Floby
Floby is a locality situated in Falköping Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden. It had 1,544 inhabitants in 2005.-History:In 1858 the first portion of the railway line connecting Stockholm and Gothenburg was opened, and a railway station was opened in the parish of Floby, near the border of...
', English exonym: West Gothland, is one of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden , situated in the southwest of Sweden. In older English literature one may also encounter the Latinized version Westrogothia....
(now part of Falköping Municipality
Falköping Municipality is a municipality in Västra Götaland County in western Sweden. Its seat is located in the city of Falköping....
, Västra Götaland County
Västra Götaland County is a county or län on the western coast of Sweden.The county is the second largest of Sweden's counties and it is subdivided into 49 municipalities . Its population of 1,550,000 amounts to 17% of Sweden's population...
). He studied at the Royal Academy of Turku, and already had some reputation as a poet when he became a "docent" in aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...
at the school in 1774.
Three years later he moved to Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...
, where in 1778 he began publishing the journal "Stockholmsposten" with Assessor Carl Lenngren. Kellgren was sole editor from 1788 onwards. In 1779, he wrote a poem portraying the young and popular actress Ulrica Rosenblad's funeral, a verse quoted in the press. Kellgren was librarian to Gustavus III
Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolph Frederick and Queen Louise Ulrica of Sweden, she a sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia....
from 1780, and became his private secretary in 1785. At the establishment of the Swedish Academy
The Swedish Academy , founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden.-History:The Swedish Academy was founded in 1786 by King Gustav III. Modelled after the Académie française, it has 18 members. The motto of the Academy is "Talent and Taste"...
in 1786 he was appointed one of its first members.
He died at Stockholm. Kellgren was never married, but was at one point the lover of the prima donna Fredrique Löwen
Fredrica Löf, also known as Fredrique Löwen was a Swedish stage actress...
His strong satiric
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...
tendency led him into numerous controversies, the chief that with the critic Thomas Thorild
Thomas Thorild , was a Swedish poet, critic, feminist and philosopher....
, against whom he directed his satire Nytt försök till orimmad vers
, where he also sneers at the "raving of Shakespeare" and "the convulsions of Goethe." His lack of humour detracts from the interest of his polemical writings. His poetical works are partly lyrical, partly dramatic; his plays are based on plots by Gustavus III. The songs interspersed in the four opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...
s which they produced together, viz., Gustaf Vasa, Gustaf Adolf och Ebba Brahe, Aeneas i Carthago
, and Drottning Kristina
, are wholly the work of Kellgren.
From about 1788 a graver feeling pervades Kellgren's verses, owing partly to the influence of Lessing
Lessing - German family of writers and artists*Johann Gottfried Lessing pastor primarus in Kamenz, well respected, published theologian, translator and father of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Karl Gotthelf Lessing...
and Goethe, but probably more directly due to his controversy with Thorild. Of his minor poems written before that date the most important are the charming spring-song Vinterns valde lyktar
, and the satirical Mina Löjen
and Man äger ej snille för det man är galen
. The best productions of what is called his later period are the satire Ljusets fiender
, the comic poem Dumboms lefverne
, the warmly patriotic Kantat d. 1. Jan. 1789
, the ode Till Kristina
, the fragment Sigwart och Hilma
, and the beautiful song Nya skapelsen
, both in thought and form the finest of his works.
Among his lyrics are the choicest fruits of the Gustavian age of Swedish letters. His earlier efforts, indeed, express the superficial doubt and pert frivolousness characteristic of his time; but in the works of his riper years he is no mere "poet of pleasure," as Thorild contemptuously styled him, but a worthy exponent of earnest moral feeling and wise human sympathies in felicitous and melodious verse.
His Samlade skrifter
("Collected works", 3 vols., 1796; a later edition, 1884-1885) were revised by himself. His correspondence with Rosenstein and with Abraham Niclas Clewberg was edited by Henrik Schück
Henrik Schück was a Swedish literary historian, university professor and author.-Biography:Johan Henrik Emil Schück was a professor at the Lund University 1890-98. He was a professor at at Uppsala University 1898-1920 and later Rector 1905-1918. He was a member of the Swedish Academy 1913-1947,...
(1886-1887 and 1894).