BREMER, FREDRIKA (1801–1865), Swedish novelist, was born near Åbo, in Finland, on the 17th of August 1801. Her father, a descendant of an old German family, a wealthy iron master and merchant, left Finland when Fredrika was three years old, and after a year’s residence in Stockholm, purchased an estate at Årsta, about 20 m. from the capital. There, with occasional visits to Stockholm and to a neighbouring estate, which belonged for a time to her father, Fredrika passed her time till 1820. The education to which she and her sisters were subjected was unusually strict; Fredrika’s health began to give way; and in 1821 the family set out for the south of France. They travelled slowly by way of Germany and Switzerland, and returned by Paris and the Netherlands. It was shortly after this time that Miss Bremer became acquainted with Schiller’s works, which made a very deep impression on her. She had begun to write verses from the age of eight, and in 1828 she succeeded in finding a publisher for the first volume of her Teckningar ur hvardagslifvet (1828), which at once attracted attention. The second volume (1831), containing one of her best tales, Familjen H., gave decisive evidence that a real novelist had been found in Sweden. The Swedish Academy awarded her their smaller gold medal, and she increased her reputation by Presidentens döttrar (1834), Grannarne (1837) and others. Her father had died in 1830, and her life was thereafter regulated in accordance with her own wishes and tastes. She lived for some years in Norway with a friend, after whose death she travelled in the autumn of 1849 to America, and after spending nearly two years there returned through England. The admirable translations (1846, &c.) of her works by Mary Howitt, which had been received with even greater eagerness in America and England than in Sweden, secured for her a warm and kindly reception. Her impressions of America, Hemmen i nya verlden, were published in 1853–1854, and at once translated into English. After her return Miss Bremer devoted herself to her scheme for the advancement and emancipation of women. Her views on these questions were expounded in her later novels—Hertha (1856) and Far och dotter (1858). Miss Bremer organized a society of ladies in Stockholm for the purpose of visiting the prisons, and during the cholera started a society, the object of which was the care of children left orphans by the epidemic. She devoted herself to other philanthropic and social schemes, and gradually abandoned her earlier simple and charming type of story for novels directed to the furtherance of her views. In these she was less successful. In 1856 she again travelled, and spent five years on the continent and in Palestine. Her reminiscences of these countries have all been translated into English. On her return she settled at Årsta, where, with the exception of a visit to Germany, she spent the remaining years of her life. She died on the 31st of December 1865.
See Life, Letters and Posthumous Works of F. Bremer, by her sister, Charlotte Bremer, translated by F. Milow, London, 1868. A selection of her works in 6 vols. appeared at Örebro, 1868–1872.