Gurli Hertzman-Ericson was an author and translator during the first half of the1900s.
Gurli Hertzman-Ericson grew up in an upper-middle-class environment in Gothenburg. After her education at Mathilda Hall’s School, she left Gothenburg as a young girl for language studies in Cambridge. This environment made a strong impression on her with its radical ideas and social involvement. Gurli Hertzman-Ericson started reading psychology and sociology there.
Upon her return to Sweden, she began working as a governess in Dalsland, but soon married, in 1900, to engineer Olof Ericson. The family settled in Stockholm and she collected stories for her children in the book Från mor till barn, in 1903. The year after came her debut novel Finn. En lifsbild. However, her real breakthrough came first in 1923 with Huset med vindskuporna, a middle-class city novel with social pathos.
Parallel to her authorship, Gurli Hertzman-Ericson was engaged in social issues. In 1913–1918 she was the editor of the periodical Rösträtt för kvinnor and for a period chairman of the International Women’s Association for Peace and Freedom (Internationella Kvinnoförbundet för Fred och Frihet, IKFF). Towards the end of her life, in 1937–1942, she was secretary and then in 1948–1950 vice-chairman of the Swedish Authors’ Association.
In the 1920s, Gurli Hertzman-Ericson acquired a forest chalet in Tansbodarna near Mockfjärd in the province of Dalarna. This city woman became involved in the countryside which influenced her authorship and resulted in one of her strongest novels, Av jord är du kommen, in 1935. Some of her other titles worth mentioning are Domaredansen, from 1941, En hand i min, from 1943, Blå duett, from 1953. The main person in the last-named gets dismissed from his office where he has denounced all the cringing for Hitler. The values of solidarity and tolerance permeate Gurli Hertzman-Ericson’s authorship. This should be seen in the light of her social involvement.
Apart from her extensive authorship, with about 30 published titles, Gurli Hertzman-Ericson translated a number of works. Her translation work started already during her youth in Gothenburg, during the period 1909–1916. During the 1920s, she translated more and more nonfiction and controversial literature. Her translations were from English sources and the subjects were often psychology and child-rearing, but fiction was also included in her assignments.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Gurli Hertzman-Ericson increasingly approached the other Nordic countries. Norwegian literature interested her particularly, since in her youth she had already met the Norwegian poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson at the home of the Gothenburg publicist Sven Adolf Hedlund. During the German occupation, she got involved in the fates of the Nordic sibling countries and took an emphatic stand against Nazism. In this context it should be mentioned that Gurli Hertzman-Ericson translated Sigrid Undset’s books Åter mot framtiden and Lyckliga dagar i Norge, from the English, in 1943.
Gurli Hertzman died in 1954 at the age of 74. She is buried in the cemetary at Mockfjärd.