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GEORG STJERNHJELM (1598–1672)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 929 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GEORG STJERNHJELM (1598–1672), Swedish poet and scholar, whose original name was Goran Lilja, was born at Wika in Dalecarlia on the 7th of August 1598. He took his degree at Greifswald, and spent some years in travelling over every quarter of Europe. On his return in 1626 he maintained a correspondence with Salmasius, Heinsius, and other scholars. He taught at Vesteras, and then at Stockholm, attracting the notice of Gustavus Adolphus, who gave him a responsible post at Dorpat in 1630, and raised him next year to the nobility. After the king's death, Christina attached him, as a kind of poet laureate, to her court in Stockholm. His property lay in Livonia, and when the Russians plundered that province in 1656 the poet, who was in temporary disgrace at court, was reduced to extreme poverty for two or three years. He subsequently became judge at Trondhjem, member of the council of war (1661), and president (1667) of the College of Antiquities at Stockholm. He died at Stockholm on the 22nd of April 1672. His greatest poem Hercules, is a didactic allegory in hexameters, written in very musical verse, and with almost Oriental splendour of phrase and imagery. The Hercules, which deals with the familiar story of the dispute for the hero between Duty and Pleasure, was first printed at Upsala in 1653 but was finished some years earlier. Brollops-Besvars Ihugkommelse, a sort of serio-comic epithalamium in the same measure, is another very brilliant work. His masques, Then fhngne Cupido (Cupid Caught) (1649), Freds-afl (The Birth of Peace) (1649), and Parnassus triumphans (1651), were written for the entertainment of Queen Christina. He can scarcely be said to have been successful in his attempt, in the first two of these, to introduce unrhymed song-measures. Stjernhjelm was an active philologist, and left a great number of works on language, of which only a few have been printed. He also wrote on history, mathematics, philosophy and natural science, producing original and valuable work on every subject he attempted. Among his numerous works are Letter A of the Lexicon vocabulorum antiquorum gothicorum (1643, &c.), Archimedes reformatus (1644), Rana suetica (L(ibeck, 1700), and an edition of Wdst Gotha Lagbok (1663). His works were partially edited by P. Hanselli (Samlade vitterhets arbeten of Svenska Forfattare, vol. i., 1871), by L. Hammarskt ld (Stockholm, 1818), by F. Tamm (Upsala, 1891). See also C. J. Lenstrom, Litterart Portrattgalleri (Upsala, 1838); there is a full list of his writings in the Svenskt biographiskl Lexikon, vol. xv. (Upsala, 1848).
End of Article: GEORG STJERNHJELM (1598–1672)
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