EDGREN, August Hjalmar. Karlskoga 18.10.1840 — Djursholm 9.12.1903. Swedish Indologist and Linguist, partly in the U.S.A. Professor in Lincoln. Son of Axel E., an estate owner from the middle of Sweden, and Mathilda Berger. School 1849-51 in Karlstad and 1854-57 in Stockholm, where he matriculated in 1858. In 1858-61 served in Swedish army, in 1861-63 participated in American civil war, then 1864-70 again in Swedish army. In the end of the 1860s he became interested in language studies and in 1870 started studies at Yale. Ph.D. there 1874, then taught French and studied further under Whitney. In 1878-79 deputy of Whitney. Back in Sweden he worked as a Docent of Sanskrit at Lund University in 1880-84. From 1884 Professor of Sanskrit and Modern Languages at Nebraska University in Lincoln. For a while, in 1891-93 Professor of Germanic Languages at the newly founded Gothenburg University in Sweden (taught Sanskrit, too), then returned to his chair in Lincoln. There he was also Professor of Roman Languages from 1893, and Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology, until 1901. Last years again in Sweden, where he was the chairman of the Nobel Committee in 1901-03. Married 1880 Anna Marianne (Manne) Steendorff (1853–1940), one son and two daughters.
HjE was one of the pioneers of Sanskrit in Sweden. His translations of Sanskrit classics are philologically accurate and thorough, but not always literally appreciable. His grammar was a good elementary guide in the spirit of Whitney.
Publications: translated in Swedish: Kâlidâsa: Schakuntala, eller den förlorade ringen. Stockholm 1875; Meghadûta. Malmö 1875; Mâlavikâ, ett indiskt skådespel. Malmö 1877; Nala. 163 p. Stockholm 1880.
– “Statistical and discursive notes on Vrddhi-derivatives in Sanskrit”, LUÅ 17, 1880-81; “On the Propriety of retaining the Eighth Verb-Class in Sanskrit”, Lincoln Univ. Studies 1:1, 1888, 17ff.
– “De codicibus nonnullis Indicis, qui in bibliotheca universitatis Lundensis asservantur”, Lunds universitets årsskrift 19, 1883.
– Sanskritspråkets formlära. Lund 1883; English version A Compendious Sanskrit Grammar. L. 1885.
– “Indiens sagor på vandring genom världen”, Nordisk Tidskrift 1884.
– “On the Verbal Roots of the Sanskrit Language and of the Sanskrit Grammarians”, JAOS 11, 1885, 1-55; “Palatal and Labial Vowels (i, î, u, û) and their corresponding Semivowels (y, v)”, JAOS 11, 1885, 67-88.
– Jämförande grammatik; omfattande sanskrit, grekiska, latin och gotiska. Göteborg 1893.
– travel books, grammars of modern languages, pedagogical writings, etc.
– several collections of poetry; translated Swedish poetry (Rydberg) into English and English (Longfellow and Tennyson) into Swedish.
Sources: Charpentier, Sv. Orientsällsk. Årsbok 1924, 66f.; Sv. män och kvinnor 2; B. Hildebrand, Sv. biogr. lex. 12, 121-126; *E. Lindqvist, An immigrant’s two worlds: A biography of H.J. Rock Island 1972; Wikipedia with photo (see also the Swedish version).