chapter  3
24 Pages

Swedish Barbary Captivity Tales

From Letters to Literature (1650–1770)
WithJoachim Östlund

This essay analyzes variations in the form and content of representations of Barbary captivity and slavery in early modern Swedish texts such as newspaper articles, alms collections, sea shanties, and published literature. The image of Barbary captivity in Sweden was multifaceted and contradictory, and, despite its idiosyncrasies, quite typical of European nations in general. As a major political issue, captivity concerned not only the captives and their families, but also governments, churches, diplomats, and local authorities, all of whom influenced the nature and perception of Barbary captivity. This essay demonstrates the variety of functions the texts served and sheds light on how Barbary captivity was constructed, from being depicted as a conflict of realpolitik to value-laden othering.