Rök Runestone is recognised as the first literature text in Sweden. This rune stone is dated from the Viking Age, sometime in 800 AD. Its text is the longest recognised existing inscription in Sweden, with the content on various paragraphs from sagas and legends.
Various Old Norse inscriptions have been discovered, they tend to deal on practical and magical matters. In later years, there would be few surviving texts in Old Swedish as Latin was mostly used by monastic writers. These religious writers were significant contributors in the literature field during those bygone times. Other texts tended to be on law.
From the 16th century, Swedish literature thrived and flourished as there was a standardisation of the Swedish language.
From 1526 to 1658, has been described as the Reformation Literature period. It was also during this era that the Gustav Vasa Bible was printed, a translated version of the bible into Swedish. It was also during this time that the printing press was introduced into Sweden. Yet King Gustav Vasa tended to censor and restrict publications and he rather favoured a limited amount of religious works, including the famous first Swedish bible.
From 1630 to 1718 is linked with the Swedish Empire literature period. There was great expansion of Sweden’s middle class and status as a great power. The influence of other countries also became noticeable, as well as Gothicismus (a cultural movement with a belief and recognition of the glorified ancestors of Sweden).
During the 1730s and 1740s, Olof von Dalin (a nobleman) began to be known as the greatest writer in Sweden. His literature was the first to be read and enjoyed by the general public.
He is recognised as the first Swedish writer to adapt the language for practical means and to depart from the normal laboured poetry literature style. In 1766, the first Freedom of the Press Act was implemented and this ensured that more liberty was given in printed literature. French words were incorporated into Swedish literature and there was noticeable influence from other countries such as Germany, England and France.
In the 18th century, Latin fell out of favour and Swedish become far more in vogue. Carolus Linnaeus (an internationally acclaimed botanist), was the first to focus his writing for the appeal of the general public.
Many great talented Swedish poets who came to be known from 1805 to 1840, during a period remembered as Romanticism in Europe. Sweden remembers that time from about 1810, as the Golden Age of Swedish poetry as there was a greater number of national poets. Among the most noteworthy romantic Swedish poets, were Erik Gustaf Geijer, Erik Johan Stagnelius, Esaias Tegnér and P.D.A. Atterbom. The Gothic Society also became an important group of the time;the focus of the group being on Gothicism.
Then from 1835 to 1879 was the early libereal period of Sweden, a time when various citizens viewed the Romantics of having been exaggerated by formality. Then Aftonbladet (a newspaper) began to be more expressive in liberal views from 1830.
Swedish modernist poetry began in the 1930s and 1940s. It is distinguished by free pose, without rhyme or metric syllables. Some of the foremost modernist poetry is styled in mysticism and orientated in Christianity. Two noteworthy poets of this era (1900s) are Hjalmar Gullberg and Tomas Gösta Tranströmer, whose talented literature works have been translated into English. World literature only began to be impacted by Swedish literature from the late 19th century and early 20th century.