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Victoria Benedictsson (1850–1888)

Author of Pengar

Includes the names: Victoria Benedictsson (Pseud. Ernst) Ahlgren

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Victoria Benedictsson, née Bruzelius, was born to a farming family in the Skåne region on the southern coast of Sweden. Her childhood was marred by her parents' unhappy marriage and their battles over how to raise her. She wished to attend art school in Stockholm and become a painter, but her father refused to allow it. At age 21, in rebellion, she married Christian Benedictsson, a widower 28 years her senior with five children, and had two children of her own. In 1881, she was confined to bed with a knee injury that left her disabled, and began keeping a diary and writing realistic stories about rural life. She published her first collection of stories, Från Skåne (From Skåne), in 1884. It earned her fame and and an invitation to Stockholm, where she was able to participate in Swedish literary circles. She produced other works that are still popular and considered part of the early Scandinavian women's movement, under the pen name Ernst Ahlgren. Among them was a semi-autobiographical first novel, Pengar (Money, 1885). She had an unhappy love affair with Georg Brandes, a prominent Danish literary critic, and committed suicide in Copenhagen at age 38. Her diary was published in the 1970s in three volumes as Stora boken, Dagbok 1882-1888. She is believed to have been the inspiration for Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and August Strindberg's Miss Julie.
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