Fredrika Bremer - Career

Career

Bremer was not comfortable with this role, and was inflicted by a crisis, which she overcame by charitable work in the country around Årsta Castle. In 1828, she debuted as a writer, anonymously, with a series of novels published until 1831, and was soon followed by others. Her novels were romantic stories of the time and concentrated on women in the marriage market; either beautiful and superficial, or unattractive with no hope of joining it, and the person telling the story and observing them is often an independent woman. She wanted a new kind of family life, one not focused only on the male members of the family, but one which would give a larger place for women to be in focus and develop their own talents and personality.

By the 1840s, she was an acknowledged part of the cultural life in Sweden and her writing was translated into many languages. Politically, she was a liberal, who felt sympathy for social issues and for the working class movement. In 1854, she co-founded the Women Society for the Improvement of Prisoners (Fruntimmersällskapet för fångars förbättring) together with Mathilda Foy, Maria Cederschiöld, Betty Ehrenborg and Emilia Elmblad. The purpose was to visit female prisoners to provide moral support and improve their character by studies of religion.

Her novel Hertha (1856) remains her most influential work. It is a dark novel about the lack of freedom for women, and it raised a debate in the parliament called "The Hertha debate", which contributed to the new law of legal majority for adult unmarried women in Sweden in 1858, and was somewhat of a starting point for the real feminist movement in Sweden. Hertha also raised the debate of higher formal education for women, and in 1861, the University for Women Teachers, Högre lärarinneseminariet, was founded by the state after the suggested woman university in Hertha. In 1859, Sophie Adlersparre, founded the paper Tidskrift för hemmet inspired by the novel. This was the starting point for Adlersparre's work as the organizer of the Swedish feminist movement.

In 1860, she helped Johanna Berglind to fund Tysta Skolan, a school for the deaf and mute in Stockholm. At the electoral reforms regarding the right to vote of 1862, she supported the idea to give women the right to vote, which was talked about as the "horrific sight" of seeing "crinolines at the election boxes", but Bremer gave the idea her support, and the same year, women of legal majority were granted suffrage in municipal elections in Sweden. The first real Women's rights movement in Sweden, the Fredrika Bremer Association (Fredrika Bremer Förbundet), founded by Sophie Adlersparre in 1884, was named after her. Bremer was happy to mention and to recommend the work of other female professionals. She mentioned both the doctor Lovisa Årberg and the engraver Sofia Ahlbom in her work.

From 1849 to 1851 Bremer traveled by herself in the United States. Many of her works had been translated into English by the noted poet and author Mary Howitt. In the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Mrs. March reads from Fredrika Bremer to her four daughters. She was disappointed in what she had heard to be a `promised land,' particularly in the institution of slavery. She also visited Switzerland, Italy, Palestine, and Greece between 1856 and 1861, and wrote popular accounts of her travels.

Read more about this topic:  Fredrika Bremer

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