M.A. (Aberdeen) (1966), Dip.Ed. (Sheffield) (1967), appointed to Scandinavian Studies in Edinburgh in 1987, retired 2008, at which point he was Head of School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. Following retirement he became an Honorary Fellow and has continued supervision of postgraduate students and some Honours level teaching. He has served on the jury for a number of translation prizes and been awarded several prizes himself: First Prize in the European Philosophical Dialogues Competition 1997 (Translation Category); Swedish Academy Annual Prize for Translation 2009; Triennial Bernard Shaw Prize for Translation from Swedish, Runner-up, 2013. In 2009 he was appointed Knight (First Class) of the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star.
Research interests centre on translation and reception studies, particularly with reference to the literary cross-currents between Scandinavia and Britain. In this area he has published on topics such as the impact of Macpherson’s Ossian in Sweden, on the nineteenth and twentieth century perception of Scandinavian literature in Britain, on the translations of Robert Burns in Swedish and on the reception of Selma Lagerlöf and Knut Hamsun (among others) in Britain. He has an earlier but continuing research interest in the Swedish working-class writers of the first half of the twentieth century.
He is active as a literary translator, having translated and published many Swedish short stories, literary extracts and poetry, as well as travel books, histories and novels from all periods from the eighteenth century to the present day.
- Peter Fröberg Idling: Song for an Approaching Storm, London: Pushkin Press, 2014, 336pp.
- Selma Lagerlöf: Nils Holgersson’s Wonderful Journey through Sweden, translation and afterword, London: Norvik Press, 2013, 2 vols, 348pp. and 372pp.
- August Strindberg: The People of Hemsö, translation and afterword, London: Norvik Press, 2012, 158pp.
- August Strindberg: The Father. Translated for the Theatre Royal Bath, 2012.
- Peter Englund: The Beauty and the Sorrow, London and New York: Profile Books and Knopf, 2011, 532 pp.
- Selma Lagerlöf: The Phantom Carriage, translation and afterword, London: Norvik Press, 2011, 122 pp.
- Dag Oistein Endsjø: The History of Sex and Religion, London: Reaktion Books, 2011, 332 pp.
- Thor Gotaas: Running: A Global History, London: Reaktion Books, 2009, 320 pp.
- August Strindberg: The Red Room, introduced, translation and afterword, Norwich: Norvik Press, 2009, 317pp.
- August Strindberg: Tschandala, translation and introduction, Norwich, Norvik Press, 2007, 136 pp.
- Carl Linnaeus, The Lapland Journey, introduced, edited and translated, Edinburgh: Lockharton Press, 1995, 207pp.
- Jacob Wallenberg: My Son on the Galley, introduced, edited and translated, Norwich: Norvik Press, 1994, 192pp.
- David Stevenson: Scotland's Last Royal Wedding: The Marriage of King James VI and Anne of Denmark, Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd, 1997. (Original Danish sources translated.)
Books: Authored and Edited
- Fröding, Burns and Scott, Edinburgh: Lockharton Press, 2000, 139pp.
- Jan Fridegård: Lars Hård, Hull Studies in Swedish Literature, 1977, 52pp. 2nd revised ed., 1994, 55pp.
- Images and Imaginations:Perspectives on Scandinavia and Britain, [ed. with Arne Kruse], Edinburgh: Lockharton Press, 2007, 200pp.
- Hamsun in Edinburgh, [ed. with Arne Kruse], Hamarøy, Hamsun-selskapet, 1998, 125pp.
Chapters in Books and Articles in Journals
- ‘”Gigantic grandeur” or “Odd, boring and slightly obscene”. Aspects of the Reception of Scandinavian Literature in Britain’, in Northern Studies 42, 2011, 1-16.
- ‘High Latitudes, High Ideals: Lord Dufferin’s Letters from High Latitudes: Victorian Idealization of the North – and its Limits’, in Images and Imaginations etc., 2007, pp.133-44.
- ‘The Howitts, English Identity and Scandinavian Literature c 1850’, in Edda, 106, no. 3, 2006, pp.258-268.
- ‘Berättaren, temat och den dolda intrigen: en läsning av Selma Lagerlöfs Löwensköldska ringen’, in I Selma Lagerlöfs värld, eds Maria Karlsson and Louise Vinge, (Stockholm: Symposion, 2005), pp. 240-52.
- ‘Translation and Transplantation: Sir Alexander Gray’s Danish Ballads’, with Bjarne Thorup Thomsen inFrae ither Tongues: Essays on Modern Translations into Scots, ed. Bill Findlay (Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2004) pp. 231-51.
- ‘Ossian in Sweden and Swedish-speaking Finland’, in The Reception of Ossian in Europe, ed. Howard Gaskill (London and New York: Thoemmes. The Athlone Critical Traditions Series 2004) pp. 198-209. ISBN 0-8264-6135-2
- ‘Three Novelists of the 1930s: Vilhelm Moberg, Ivar Lo-Johansson and Eyvind Johnson’, in Aspects of Modern Swedish Literature, [with Phil Holmes] ed. Irene Scobbie, Norwich Norvik Press, 1999 (2nd revised and augmented edition), pp. 263-302.
- ‘Thee Poets of the 1960s’, in Aspects of Modern Swedish Literature, [with Phil Holmes] ed. Irene Scobbie, Norwich Norvik Press, 1999 (2nd revised and augmented edition), pp. 249-55.
- ‘Gamla och nya horisonter: något om mottagandet av Knut Hamsun och Selma Lagerlöf i Storbritannien 1890-1940’, in E. Arntzen et al. (eds), Hamsun i Tromsø II, Hamarøy, Hamsun-Selskapet, 1999, pp.155-69.
- ‘From Depravity to the Salvaging of Civilisation and Beyond: The Reception of Hamsun in Britain 1898-1934’, in Hamsun in Edinburgh [ed. Peter Graves & Arne Kruse], Hamarøy, Hamsun-selskapet, 1998, pp. 17-36.
- ‘The Reception of Selma Lagerlöf in Britain’, in Selma Lagerlöf i utlandsperspektiv, ed. Louise Vinge, Stockholm, Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien 44, 1998, pp. 9-19.
- ‘Fröding, Burns, Scott and Carlyle’, Northern Studies, 32, 1997, pp. 7-32.
- ‘Narrator, Theme and Covert Plot: A Reading of Selma Lagerlöf’s Löwensköldska ringen’,Scandinavica, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 7-21.
- ‘Selma Lagerlöf’s “De fågelfrie”: the Divide between the Spoken and the Seen”, in Sarah Death and Helena Forsås-Scott (eds.), A Century of Swedish Narrative Norwich, Norvik Press, 1994, pp. 51-62.
- ‘Ivar Lo-Johansson and Proletarian Writing in Sweden’, Planet, 85, 1991, pp.35-43.
- ‘Lo-Johansson and the Passions’, Proceedings of the Conference of Scandinavian Teachers in Great Britain, ed. Nigel Reeves, Guildford, University of Surrey, 1983.
- ‘Sven Wernström: Traditionalist and Reformer’, Signal, 26, 1978, pp.73-84.
- ‘Swedish Children’s Books in Britain’, Signal, 18, 1975, pp.137-41.
- ‘The Collective Novel in Sweden’, Scandinavica, XII, 1973, pp.113-27.