Swedish Academy

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The Swedish Academy (Swedish: Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden.



The Swedish Academy was founded in 1786 by King Gustav III. Modelled after the Académie française, it has 18 members. The motto of the Academy is "Talent and Taste" ("Snille och Smak" in Swedish). The primary purpose of the Academy is to further the "purity, strength, and sublimity of the Swedish language" ("Svenska Språkets renhet, styrka och höghet") (Walshe, 1965). To that end the Academy publishes two dictionaries.[1]

The first is a one-volume dictionary called Svenska Akademiens Ordlista (SAOL). The second is a multi-volume dictionary, edited on principles similar to those of the Oxford English Dictionary, entitled Svenska Akademiens Ordbok (SAOB). The SAOL has reached its 13th edition while the first volume of the SAOB was published in 1898 and today (As of 2005) work has progressed to words beginning with the letter "T".

Since 1901 the Academy has annually decided who will be the laureate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded in memory of the donor Alfred Nobel. The Academy also awards the Dobloug Prize, a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. .[2][3]

The building now known as the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building was built for the bourgeoisie. The bottom floor was used as a trading exchange (this later became the stock exchange) and the upper floor was used for balls, New Year's Eve parties, etc. When the academy was founded, the ballroom was the biggest room in Stockholm that could be heated and thus used in the winter, so the king asked if he could borrow it.

The academy has had its annual meeting there every year since, but it was not until 1914 the academy gained the right to use the upper floor as their own for all eternity. It is here that the Academy meets and, amongst other business, announces the names of Nobel Prize laureates. The latter makes it arguably one of the most influential literary bodies in the world.

Dag Hammarskjöld's former farm at Backåkra, close to Ystad in southern Sweden, was bought in 1957 as a summer residence by Hammarskjöld, then Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953-1961). The south wing of the farm is reserved as a summer retreat for the 18 members of the Swedish Academy, of which Hammarskjöld was a member.

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