Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Traditionalism in Sweden

Ivan Aguéli (born Johan Gustaf Agelii), the Swedish painter who introduced Guénon to Sufism in 1911, is of course the most famous Swedish proto-Traditionalist--"proto" because he died before Traditionalism was really established.

However, there have also been later Traditionalists in Sweden, the only Scandinavian country in which Traditionalism has really developed.

The earliest Swedish Traditionalist was Kurt Almqvist (1912-2001), a poet who joined the Maryamiyya during the 1940s. Almqvist published in Études Traditionnelles during the 1960s, and then in Studies in Comparative Religion during the 1970s and 1980s. He also published extensively in Swedish, both volumes of his own poetry and Traditionalist works such as Den glömda dimensionen (The forgotten dimension, 1959) and Tidlös besinning i besinningslös tid, Ur Frithjof Schuons verk (Timeless meaning in a meaningless time: From Frithjof Schuon's work, 1973).

A later but better known Traditionalist was Tage Lindbom (1909-2001).

Lindbom started as a socialist, working as a theorist and archivist for the governing Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti (Social Democratic Party, SDP) after taking his PhD (on the history of Swedish syndicalism) in 1938. He discovered Traditionalism in the 1960s, published Sancho Panzas väderkvarnar (Sancho Panza's windmills) in 1962, and left the SDP's employment in 1965. He and Almqvist became the center of a small, mostly intellectual, group of Swedish Traditionalists.

Lindbom published numerous books and articles, of which the most important was probably Agnarna och vetet (Chaff and grain, 1974), which has been translated into English, French, Spanish and Turkish. He became increasingly prominent as a Swedish spokesperson for conservatism, with books such as Demokratin är en myt (Democracy is a myth, 1991), translated into English as The Myth of Democracy. Towards the end of his life, the group around him is said to have become less intellectual, and to have divided into two segments: young Swedish Muslims of immigrant origin, and young Swedish ultra-conservatives.

After the death of Almqvist and Lindbom, the two most prominent Swedish traditionalists became Ashk Dahlén (b. 1972) (of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities) and the journalist Mohamed Omar (b. 1976).

For Swedish Traditionalism online, see

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