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Fredrika Charlotta Runeberg, née Tengström

Fenno-Swedish author. Born 1807, died 1879. Married to Johan Ludvig Runeberg.

Though Fredrika Runeberg properly deserves the title of author of the first historical novel of Finland, her first work, Fru Catharina Boije och hennes döttrer ("Catharina Boije and her daughters", 1858), while finished in 1843, was not published until some years after Zacharias Topelius had begun to publish his historical novels.

Fredrika Runeberg, who wrote one other historical novel, Sigrid Liljeholm (1862) and numerous short stories, shunned the limelight, in a manner typical for female authors of her time (which considered public fame to be an "unwomanly" pursuit). The central theme of her oeuvre is how women can combine humility with integrity. Characteristically, her memoir Min pennas saga ("The saga of my pen", 1946) was only published posthumously, over a half century after her death.

"A man writes when he wants to. A woman, at least one with children and a house to keep,
when she is able and can find the time."

- Fredrika Runeberg: Min pennas saga

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