Andreas Nyblom, Kampen om eftermälet. Stiftelsen Övralid och Heidenstams sista vilja. (The Battle of Posterity: Heidenstam’s Last Will and the Controversy of its Interpretation.)
The essay deals with the last and, to a great extent, unexplored years of the life of Verner von Heidenstam (1859–1940), and in particular with the diffculties concerning the establishment and interpretation of his will. The two decades following Heidenstam’s successful debut in 1888 were marked by a tremendous growth of fame and renown. He was elected member of the Swedish Academy in 1912 and received the Nobel Prize in 1916. Shortly thereafter, however, he fell into silence. The first signs of senile decay appeared in the early 1930s and his further deterioration provided the opportunity for a small crowd of people to influence the design of his will. In the years prior to his death, a misdirected concern for the writer’s place in history was prevalent among people close to him, and his heritage therefore became a mix of myth and falsehood. In the effort to exert influence on the writer’s posthumous reputation, the truth about his life in old age was disregarded. The violation of Heidenstam’s integrity involved among other things the eviction and deletion of his common-law wife and the simultaneous reintroduction of his first, lawfully wedded wife. The main beneficiary of Heidenstam’s will was the Övralid Foundation, which was assigned the task of administrating his estate, literary remains and fortune. The earlier intrigues now caused difficulties within the management of the foundation concerning the interpretation and execution of the will. Disagreement regarding the testator’s health and his soundness of mind when signing the will led to continuous conflicts which in many ways would have impact on the subsequent view of Verner von Heidenstam in literary history.
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2005. Vol. 126, 151-203 p.