The Great Game: Yngling Literature

Popular books and plays of 1849:

  • The Bower and the Bride, Henrik Knudsson, first performed at the Norwegian Theater in Bergen. A light-hearted comedy dealing with the attempts of a stril, Jørgen Klensmann, to join the Ynglings in spite of the increasingly ridiculous objections thrown up by the Inspector of Soldiers, Bjarte Erikson. It is worth noting that at this time the old law of permitting soldiers with their time expired to marry into the Ynglings had fallen almost completely into disuse, being hedged about with regulations, exceptions, and red tape. The play can thus be seen as somewhat socially critical, since the audience’s sympathy is clearly intended to be with Jørgen. Though mild compared to the author’s later works, the play nonetheless catapulted him into national prominence, and he became an icon of the Liberal faction among the Ynglings. The title of the play turns on Jørgen’s inability to pronounce the letter ‘p’, which leads to several comic misunderstandings.
  • Harald i Jungelen (Harald in the Jungle), Inge Ingesson, Nidaros Forlag. Children’s adventure. Harald is the child of a plantation owner in Cambodia, who is kidnapped and held for ransom by a rebellious jungle tribe. Through wit, charm, and Yngling military training, Harald becomes the leader of the tribe, and leads them in raids on other rebel groups, culminating in saving his father’s plantation from an attack by several hundred natives.
  • The Will to Power, Marie Gunnarsdottir, Bergenhus University Press. Philosophy; draws on examples from the natural world to show the right of the strong to rule. Contains strong attacks on Christianity, especially the New Testament; immediately banned in every nation except Norway and China. Strong emphasis on self-determination, and the ability of men to become, rather than be born as, natural rulers.
  • Elbe to Vistula, Yngve Jonsson, Bergenhus University Press. The second volume of the author’s monumental biography of Hans Olafsson, the Norwegian general during the Spanish War. Deals with the Polish campaign, where Olafsson first demonstrated his tactical brilliance.
  • African Queen, Fredrik Naldorsson (pseudonym; real author unknown), Nidaros Forlag. Semi-pornographic account of garrison life in the African colonies; graphic depictions of skirmishes with rebellious tribesmen, as well as the aftermath of raids on native villages, including several rapes. Something of an underground hit.
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