Dalin, Olof von

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Olof von Dalin (ōō´lôv fən dälēn´), 1708–63, Swedish historian, poet, and journalist, the foremost figure of the Swedish Enlightenment. In his successful career in the civil service, Dalin served as royal librarian (1737–39), tutor to the future Gustavus III (1750–56), royal historiographer (1755–56), and king's councillor (1763). His periodical, the Swedish Argus (1733–34), helped to introduce the Enlightenment in Sweden and won for Dalin the title "the Voltaire of the North." Dalin's prose masterpiece, the allegorical Tale of the Horse (1740), uses folk material to satirize the relations between the Swedish people (the horse) and the monarchy (the master). Most of his writings were more notable as skillful imitations than as creative efforts. They include essays, plays, lyric poetry, and humorous prose, all highly regarded in his time. His History of the Swedish Kingdom (4 vol., 1746–62) ridiculed confused theories of Sweden's Gothic origins.