Sven Lidman. Erotic poet and revivalist

Welcome to an evening about the decadence poet and revival preacher Sven Lidman (1882-1960). The evening is arranged by the initiative of the PUSS artist Karin Frostenson (b. 1946), granddaughter of Sven Lidman and who currently is active with the exhibition Present time, Past time, Dream time at the Thiel Gallery.


Sophie Allgårdh, producer and moderator, introduces the evening.
Karin Frostenson “Sven Lidman and Carin Thiel – a talk about two portraits”
Johan Lundberg, Associate Professor of Literature, Stockholm University, draws a portrait of one of the most eccentric talents of Swedish literary history.
Jonas Lidman, genealogist and founder of the Lidman archive "Why is an archive about Sven Lidman needed?"
Film. Sven Lidman. A film about accident heritage and salvation experience (25 min)
Screenplay: Anders Frostenson. Votes: Gunnel Wållgren and others.

The theme evening is included in the entrance fee

To attend the event, please notify us in advance at:

The event will be held in Swedish.

Café Monika Ahlberg - pre-booking
1 sandwich and a glass of wine: SEK 200 (ord. SEK 213)
Shrimp sandwich or Skagen
Herring Sandwich + beer Guldkällan (50 cl): 180 SEK (ord. 190 SEK)

About the evening. Sven Lidman, Ernest Thiel and Karin Frostenson

The artist Karin Frostenson, granddaughter of Sven Lidman, was part of the 68-movement and has made several covers for the left-winged radical newspaper PUSS, in which she was active together with her then husband Lars Hillersberg, Carl Johan De Geer, Lena Svedberg and others. Frostenson’s art also includes her own family with many colorful personalities. For the exhibition at the Thiel Gallery she has painted several new portraits, including the portrait of her grandfather Sven Lidman.

Sven Lidman and Ernest Thiel were introduced to each other in 1906 by Hjalmar Söderberg. Thiel himself wrote some poetry and, like Lidman, he was inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche. Thiel's new palace at Blockhusudden became a scene for writers, artists and actors and in the photo from the Rose Masquerade, the inaugural celebration in March 1907, Sven Lidman is surrounded by the cultural elite in Stockholm: Hjalmar Söderberg, Harriet Bosse, Eugen Jansson and others. The following year, he married Ernest Thiel's daughter Carin (Karin Frostenson's grandmother). At the same time, with the marriage to Carin, Lidman also became in-laws with the Bonnier family. Tor Bonnier, Carin's cousin, became his publisher and lifelong friend.

About Sven Lidman as a poet and writer

Sven Lidman debuted with a language that steamed of decadence and eroticism. His collections of poems Pasiphaë (1904), Primavera (1905), The Sources (1906) and The Fire and the Altar (1907) derived their content from Greek mythology while the buzzing tone was close to English and French symbolism, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Rimbaud. He received an enthusiastic reception from leading critics such as Oscar Levertin and Hjalmar Söderberg and became the country's most important writer.

After the divorce from Carin Thiel in 1917 he continued his writing with the same intensity and glow, but now as converted and saved. He was a great speaker and people pilgrimaged to the temples to hear his sermons.

"My grandfather's erotic poetry was founded in a search for the ecstatic and cross-border. He found all this by chance within the Pentecostal church. He did not jump on a new train, he just changed the sign." (Karin Frostenson).

Lidman's life as an author is full of abrupt changes. In 1948 he was expelled from the Philadelphia Church after a conflict with Lewi Pethrus. The gap between the movement's two leading ministers is imaginatively portrayed by P O Enquist in the novel Lewis's Journey (Natur & Kultur, 2001).

The memoir suite Sven Lidman published in the 1950s is seen as a classic in the genre. In a self-disclosure way, he portrays in his four volumes his life until the conversion in 1917. The fourth part, Benevolence and Retribution, contains several passages on the cultural circle around Ernest Thiel

Author about Sven Lidman
Tonight's guest, author Johan Lundberg, has in the book An eternity in the room's forms. Decadent and symbolic elements in Sven Lidman's, Anders Österlings's and Sigfrid Siwertz's lyric 1904–1907 (Symposion, 2000) delved into Lidman's early poetry. Knut Ahnlund illustrates to the biography of Sven Lidman. A life drama (Natur & Kultur, 1996) a full-figure portrait of the author, while Tor Bonnier in A long time ago (Bonniers, 1972) offers several drastic memorial images of Bonnier's collaboration with Lidman.