Dudík: Correspondence with Gustaf Edvard Klemming (1875–76)

During their military campaigns in the seventeenth century, Swedish regents and field marshals plundered many Continental collections. Consequently, several Central and Eastern European scholars came to Sweden in the nineteenth century – as the status of historiography increased tremendously in Europe, the location of its sources also gained importance. A significant example is the Moravian historian and Benedictine priest Beda Dudík, who mapped Bohemian and Moravian sources in Sweden in 1851. In Stockholm, Dudík met the librarian Gustaf Edvard Klemming, and a life-long collaboration was initiated. Their correspondence reveals how spoils were researched, perceived, and, especially in the 1870s, how a possible restitution of loot was negotiated. Dudík’s success – 21 Bohemian manuscripts were restituted in 1878 – heavily depended on his friendship with Klemming. Ultimately, at a time when history and heritage were nationalised, the Dudík-Klemming letters emphasise a transnational dependency of some nations and regions in this process.

commented by Emma Hagström Molin

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