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Anne Charlotte Leffler (1849–1892)

Author of Womanhood and Eroticism

Includes the names: Anne Carlotta Leffler

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Anne Charlotte Leffler was a daughter of John Olof Leffler, a school principal, and his wife Gustava Wilhelmina Mittag. Her brother Gösta Mittag Leffler became a noted mathematician. She was educated privately and then at age 13 attended the Wallinska skolan, the most progressive school open to females in Stockholm at that time. She began writing at a very young age and published her first volume of stories, entitled Incidentally, at age 20 under the pseudonym Carlot. In 1872, she married Gustaf Edgren, a friend of the family, but the marriage was unhappy, in part because he did not approve of her aspirations as a writer. She wrote her first play, Skådespelerskan (The Actress) in secret and published it anonymously in 1873. By about 1884, she was separated from her husband. The first work to which she attached her name was Ur lifvet (From Life, 1882), a collection of novellas, followed by five more volumes with the same title. In 1883, she established her reputation as a writer with the success of the plays Sanna qvinnor (True Women) and En räddande engel (An Angel of Deliverance). She spent some time in England, and in 1885 produced her play Hur man gör gott (How One Does Good), followed in 1888 by Kampen för lyckan (The Struggle for Happiness), with help from her friend Sofia Kovalevskaya, a Russian mathematician and writer. She also wrote novels and short stories. She hosted a salon in her home that became a gathering place for the "Young Sweden" literary group. In 1888, she fell passionately in love with Pasquale del Pezzo, duke of Cajanello, an aristocratic Italian mathematician 10 years her junior, whom she married in 1891 after divorcing her first husband and converting to the Roman Catholic faith. She became Duchess of Cajanello and settled in Italy. At the height of her popularity and only a few months after giving birth to her first child, she died suddenly at age 43, of appendicitis. She is considered one of Sweden's most talented naturalistic writers.
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