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The Swede, like the Frenchman, prefers in Poetry the light, the clear and the transparent. The profound, indeed, he demands and values also; but it must be a depth that is pellucid. He wishes that he may see the gold sands at the bottom of the wave. Whatever is dark and muddy, so that it cannot give him any distinct image — let it be as far fetched as it may — he cannot suffer. He believes that

Th’ obscurely utter’d is th’ obscurely thought,

and clearness is a necessary condition for whatever shall produce any effect upon him. In this he differs widely from the German, who in consequence of his contemplative nature, not only suffers, but even prefers, the mystical and the nebulous, in which he loves to foresee something deeply thought. He has more ‘Gemüth’ and gloomy seriousness than the Swede, who is more superficial and more frivolous. This is the source of those mystical feelings and hemorrhoidal sensations (hemmorrhoidal-känningarne) in the German Poetry, for which we have no taste.

Esaias Tegnér, quoted in Fritiof's Saga: a Legend of the North, by F M Franzén, 1839 (my emphasis)

What's the meaning of "hemorrhoidal sensations"?

Does that mean that reading German poetry will produce bad feelings just like having piles?

  • Haemorrhoidal can be used to describe that general area (the anus). There is a haemorrhoidal nerve, so it could just mean a stimulation of the anus. I'm not sure if this is synonymous with the pudendal nerve which could in turn stimulate the genitals. It could be being used idiomatically, but to mean what I don't know. – Frank Jul 29 '14 at 6:36
  • It's clearly being used metaphorically. – Barmar Jul 29 '14 at 6:42
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    It's a nineteenth-century German word; Tegnér lived 1792–1846, and that German word was translated into Swedish in the biography and then into English. And we now have how we use the word. It may be an idiomatic German expression of which we have no knowledge. Or it may not. – Andrew Leach Jul 29 '14 at 7:17
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    "hemorrhoidal sensations" is not a common phrase in English. You'd need to ask on a german site to get the german sense. – Fattie Jul 29 '14 at 10:12
  • I don't know what they are, but they sound painful! – WS2 Jul 29 '14 at 15:58
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Without knowing much German, Swedish, or anatomy, based on the context, I would say that it's close to the English idiom visceral (or gut) feeling.

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