Victoria Benedictsson (1850-1888) was a Swedish author whose work predominantly focused on women's societal roles in the late 19th century. Born in rural Sweden, she experienced early hardships. After an arranged marriage at 21, she was locked in a loveless relationship, a theme that would be reflected in her future writings. Post separation, she moved to Stockholm and delved into literary pursuits, often writing under the pseudonym Ernst Ahlgren.
Benedictsson's work is often associated with the "Modern Breakthrough," a Scandinavian movement that encouraged realism and naturalism in literature and art. However, her life ended tragically, as she committed suicide shortly after completing her last novel "Mrs. Marianne," reputedly due to her doomed love affair with critic Georg Brandes and the negative reception of her novel "Money," among other personal challenges.
"Mrs. Marianne," written in 1888, is one of her most celebrated works. The narrative revolves around Marianne, a middle-class woman who is faced with an existential crisis. Marianne is unhappily married and feels trapped in the societal conventions and expectations of her time. The novel explores her inner turmoil, as well as her desire for freedom and self-fulfilment.
Mrs. Marianne grapples with the constraints of her time, yearning for more than her stagnant domestic life can provide, culminating in her profound realisation of her inherent worth and the subsequent actions she takes.