- Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution of each Scandinavian country. Under the absolutist monarchs who ruled prior to the establishment of democracy, however, politically motivated censorship was common, even under such enlightened rulers as Sweden's Gustav III. Censorship returned to Denmark and Norway during World War II, when both countries were occupied by Nazi Germany. Since all of the Scandinavian countries have state churches, however, blasphemy was long considered illegal. For example, the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg had to stand trial on the charge of blasphemy in 1884 because of a remark about communion wine made in a volume of short stories entitled Giftas (1884; tr., with a second volume, as Married, 1913; also as Getting Married, 1972). He was acquitted, as was Gustaf Froding when he was accused of pornography because of erotic language in his poem "En morgondrom" (1896; "A Morning Dream"). Public decency was an issue in Scandinavian literature throughout the periods of realism and naturalism, but with changing social mores sexual explicitness became increasingly tolerated. In the 1950s the Norwegian writer Agnar Mykle was accused of pornography after the publication of his novel Sangen om den røde rubin (1956; tr. The Song ofthe Red Ruby, 1961) but was acquitted by Norway's High Court. Ten years later his colleague Jens Bjørneboe published Uten en trad (1966; tr. Without a Stitch, 1969), which was found by the courts to be pornographic and consequently confiscated. It is no longer considered likely, however, that a Scandinavian literary work will be censored for any reason.
Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. Jan Sjavik. 2006.
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