Doctor Glas

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Doctor Glas
Author Hjalmar Söderberg
Original title Doktor Glas
Translator Paul Britten Austin
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Genre Romance, Thriller
Publisher Little, Brown and Co. (1st edition)
Publication date
Published in English
Pages 150 pp
ISBN 0-385-72267-2 (recent edition)
OCLC 49925067
839.73/72 21
LC Class PT9875.S6 D613 2002

Doctor Glas, an epistolary novel by Hjalmar Söderberg, tells the story of a physician in 19th-century Sweden who deals with moral and love issues.


Doctor Glas is told in the form of a journal. The main character is Dr. Glas, a physician. The antagonist is Reverend Gregorius, a morally corrupt clergyman. Gregorius' beautiful young wife confides in Dr. Glas that her sex life is making her miserable and asks for his help. Glas, in love with her, agrees to help even though she already has another adulterous lover. He attempts to intervene, but the Reverend refuses to give up his "marital rights"—she must have sex with him whether she likes it or not (at the time, a wife was legally the property of her husband, and subsequently had no right to say no). So, in order to make his love happy, he begins to plot her husband's murder. The novel also deals with issues such as abortion, women's rights, suicide, euthanasia, and eugenics. Not surprisingly, the book triggered a violent campaign against its author who thereafter was vilified in Swedish literary circles.

English translations

  • In 1963, the first English edition of this novel was published. It featured an introduction by author William Sansom.
  • In 2002, the latest edition was published by Anchor Books with an introduction by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.


  • In 2004, Swedish author Bengt Ohlsson wrote a book using Söderberg's character Gregorius and expanded upon his background, explaining why he has become so morally corrupt when readers meet him in Doctor Glas.

External links