The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Home, The

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Edition of 1920. See also Hemmet (Bremer) on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

HOME, The (Hemmet). In her novel ‘The Home’ (or ‘Family Sorrows and Joys’), written in 1839 Fredrika Bremer produced her masterpiece. Though not as absorbing as ‘Grannarne,’ which was translated into many languages and made her famous, it is more true to life. Though the plan of construction shows a certain weakness, the characters are drawn with superior skill. The chief character is Elisa Frank and her relations to her husband, Judge Frank, and her children form the main theme. Fredrika and her own sisters served as models for the daughters whose characters are convincingly described. Petrea, “ready to give away indiscriminately the presents which had been given to her,” is the author herself. Tenderness is shown in the description of the death of Henrik (her brother August), while her humor is at its best where Petrea and Jeremiah are described. In ‘The Home’ we see Fredrika Bremer for the first time as the champion of woman's emancipation and advancement. For years afterward, and especially after her return from a visit to America, it became her aim in life to deliver also the Swedish woman from the restrictions in her social position. Long before she wrote ‘The Home’ the social conditions which confined woman's activities within very narrow limits and left her helpless, unless she was “happily” married, had aroused the author's indignation. Her bitterness increased when Göta Superior Court expressed its narrow-minded opposition to the proposition that women, at the age of 25, should have the legal right to manage their own affairs. Through the study of the writings of Harriet Martineau she had become convinced that reform by law was necessary. ‘The Home’ has been translated into English by Mary Howitt.

Gisle Bothne.