Early Steig Larsson manuscripts along with a 500 year old German law book emerge from dusty library shelves in Sweden. Proof that the libraries in Sweden are filled to the brim with books that nobody touches and that lie in rooms that nobody visits came to light last week with two separate revelations.
In the Stockholm library, several unpublished manuscripts by the late and now famous writer Steig Larsson were found stuffed into a periodical called the "Jules Verne Magazine."
He had sent the manuscripts to the library in hopes of getting them published. The works were written around 1970 when Larsson was merely 17 years old, prior to starting his career as a journalist. Cautioning that they might not hold the measure of quality of the Millennium Trilogy - which has been translated into 30 languages, made into a movie and become a bestseller on US and international bookshelves - the local librarian described the resurfaced works as being in the category of science fiction.
Although there isn't any particular season for libraries to descend into their cellars and storage vaults for "spring cleaning," the last weeks also saw a relatively nearby library in Sundsvall announce that they, too, had dusted off their shelves and discovered treasures - this time, dating back over 500 years.
A parcel in a donation to the library nearly a hundred years ago by a local physician - and which was possibly not closely examined until last week - the new find turned up a handwritten German book of legal codes, the Sachsenspiegel, that was originally written in the 1200s in Low German by the Saxon nobleman, Eike von Repgau. This copy was dated 1481 and was also handwritten, although movable type plus printing presses had just been discovered about 40 years earlier by Johannes Gutenberg.
According to museum curators, only one other copy of the manuscript is known to have survived, and that one is housed in the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. As far as the start of the 20th century, the contents of the Sachsenspiegel book constituted a basis for considerable hunks of basic German law. Observers said was in good condition considering its age, and now, it will be preserved at the Swedish National Library (Kungliga Biblioteket) in Stockholm.
The Sachsenspiegel, the most important law book and legal code of the German Middle Ages. Written around 1220 as a record of existing law. Here: Illustration of the choosing of the king.