Ernst Didring

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Ernst Didring around 1900

Ernst Didring (born October 18, 1868 in Stockholm ; † October 13, 1931 ibid) was a Swedish writer who describes the industrial development of his home country (especially Norrland and Stockholm) in a time-critical manner in his novels .


Ernst Didring around 1930

Ernst Didring was born on October 18, 1868 in the Stockholm district of Östermalm . He began a teacher training course, which he could not complete due to lack of money. From 1884 he worked as an office clerk in the management of the Swedish State Railways and later became involved in the establishment of the railway pension insurance (1910). In 1899 he married the Danish teacher Jeanne Rye.

In 1897 he began composing stage works as well as dramas and short stories. In 1914 he gave up his profession entirely in favor of his writing activities and subsequently worked as a freelancer. In the periods 1915–1920 and 1923–1929 he was the Swedish Writers' Association. Shortly before his death, in 1931, he was awarded the “Samfundet De Nios” prize.

Particularly noteworthy is his socio-political commitment, which is evident on the one hand in his works, on the other hand through active participation in various associations. From 1915 to 1920 he headed the Swedish Red Cross Aid Committee for POWs . 1920–1922 he traveled through Europe (France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany).

Ernst Didring died in the Red Cross Hospital in Stockholm.


His main work and thus the most famous book is the trilogy of novels Malm (Erz), which was published from 1914 to 1919. In addition, some of his other novels (cycle Skärenleben , Die Weltspinne , The dark blue postage stamp ) are significant in terms of literary history.

His books paint (in a naturalistic way) a comprehensive picture of life in Sweden's society at the turn of the century, which is sometimes relevant today. Often only a few months passed between the publication of the original and its translations. His works were particularly well received in Germany (almost all of the German editions were published by Georg Westermann Verlag). The translations by Else von Hollander-Lossow are particularly distinguished by their detailed text reproduction. He also wrote a number of plays that were well known in Stockholm and were often performed in his time.

"Ore" trilogy

In his romantic trilogy Malm (German: ore) Ernst Didring describes the work on the " ore railway " Kiruna - Narvik , the construction of the mining town of Kiruna and the economic game with the value created in the ore fields.

Pioneers - novel from the north ( men som gjorde det )

Pioneers is one of the great novels about the track builders in Swedish literature. But it is also one of the greatest portrayals of the mountain world, a document about a new era in Swedish history and a warm and cordial recognition of the people behind a pioneering work: the construction of the ore railway at the turn of the century.

(Swedish: 1914; German: 1917 (Kiepenheuer), 1924 (Westermann) under the title: Hell in the snow ; Finnish 1917)

The crater ( Bergets sång )

Ore mining began in Kiruna on a comparatively large scale - it is now the year 1909. Some of the track workers we met in the “Roman from the North” are now miners. The general strike casts its shadow over the ore field and the struggle is waged not only between workers and employers, but also between different factions within the workers. The emigration fever is raging in the mining company - Brazil is the goal. Some of them are gradually turning back - but not all. And in the meantime, a lot has happened at the crater of the novel (= Kiruna) ...

(Swedish: 1915, German: 1924)

Speculators ( Spelarna )

Stockholm, the year before the First World War. The year of the general strike , but also the heyday of the stock speculators. At the center of speculation are the stocks that had retained their value from the ore mining in Gällivare and Kiruna. The value is increasing - the world is calling for ore, and there are rumors that the state wants to take over the ore field. One of the players is Erik Valerius. He plays high. Even in his marriage to Anna. He wins and he loses. And when news of the outbreak of war reached him one fine day at the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö - what cards did he still have to play?

(Swedish: 1919, German: 1924)

Grålöga trilogy

The story of three generations of a family that takes place on Grålöga in the Stockholm archipelago .

“An eloquent, gorgeous, living hymn to the archipelago and its people. There are no ideal figures or cheap decoys that Didring puts up here, but blood-warm people with their little virtues and sins. One must believe in them at once as one believes in the sunshine and the storm. Didring places these warm people in the great outdoors. It is no exaggeration to say that the cycle “Archipelago” is not only one of the best books by its author (perhaps the very best), but also one of the most valuable archipelago novels ever written in Swedish - August Strindberg was not except. "

  • Islands of the Storm ( Stormens öar ), Swedish: 1925, German: 1926, Dutch: around 1930
  • Mann auf Posten ( Mästarlotsen ), Swedish: 1926, German: 1927
  • Swell ( Dyningar ), Swedish: 1927

The world spider ( Två vägar )

From a contemporary publisher's review: “A Swedish chemist has the fixed idea that there must be an international money league that pulls its strings across the world like a spider; Makes wars, revolutions and peace if there is only something to be earned. So a scourge of the peoples, a society of the real masters of the world that needs to be exposed! A hunt across the globe begins, a few times the enthusiast thinks he is close to the goal, but finally he has to recognize his idea as a phantom. Loosely linked to the main plot is the fate of his French friend, a radium researcher who, in the service of his science, is approaching certain death as a real, self-sacrificing hero. Be warned to start the book in one evening - you read it through the night. "

(Swedish: 1923, German: 1925, Hungarian: 1926)

Further works in German translation

  • Hohes Spiel ( Högt spel )
    play in three acts (Swedish: 1909, German: 1909, French: 1913, Spanish: 1923).
  • Value date. Game in three acts.
    Translated from Swedish by Emil Schering from the unprinted manuscript . Erich Reiss Verlag, Berlin 1909.
  • The dark blue postage stamp ( Det mörkblå frimärket )
    Kriminalroman (Swedish: 1932, German edition planned for the next few years).


  • Gero von Wilpert: Lexicon of world literature . 2 I, page 399.
  • G: son R. Berg: Ernst Didring. Ord och picture . 1932, (Swedish)
  • G. Brandell: Svensk literature 1900–1950 . 1967, (Swedish)
  • Mats Eklöf: Ernst Didring's Malm . Uppsala 1975, (Swedish)

See also

Web links

Commons : Ernst Didring  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. The world spider. Novel. Legitimate transfer from Else von Hollander-Lossow. German first edition