Snoilsky comes from a noble family. From 1860 he began studying at the University of Uppsala. Here he became a member of Namnlösa Sällskapet ( " nameless company " ) is selected, an association of poets, their poems under pseudonyms ( "signatures", hence the name "Signature Poets" ) published. Snoilsky published under the pseudonym "Sven Tröst ". After studying Snoilsky entered the diplomatic service and worked among others in Madrid and Paris. 1869 Snoilsky published his first poems under his own name and hereby had great success.
Snoilsky worked in the aftermath of the Swedish Foreign Ministry. In 1876 he was elected a member of the Swedish Academy. 1879 was Snoilsky his position and left his wife to move away with his lover from Sweden. He settled in Dresden. In 1880, he married his mistress. 1891 Snoilsky returned back to Stockholm and was a librarian at the Royal Library.
In his early poems Snoilsky celebrated joie de vivre, pleasure and beauty. Then Snoilsky wrote mostly perfectly formed sonnets. His principal work is originally created in Dresden Svenska pictures ( see below). In his last years, Snoilsky also turned to social issues.
Snoilskys poems live less by their conceptual content and its philosophical content, but in their sensuality. Snoilsky was a master of language that could skilful use of sound and rhythm and poetry created of extraordinary beauty.
1886 published his collection of poems Snoilsky Svenska pictures ("Swedish images "). In ballads and lyrical poems Snoilsky describing events and people from the Swedish history. Snoilsky portrays not only kings, but also artists like Carl Michael Bellman and Esaias Tegnér and scientists such as Carl von Linné. But the common people are not forgotten when Snoilsky about in the poem På Värnamo marknad ( " At the fair of Värnamo " ) represents the disastrous consequences of government monetary policy for the people. But especially convinced Snoilsky here by the ingenious use of language when he ( " Stenbocks courier " ) describes transverse kurir example, in the poem Stenbocks by the breathless, galloping rhythm the crazy ride of the courier by Sweden.
Snoilskys Svenska images have until today besides Tegnérs Fritiofs saga and Runeberg Ensign steel in Sweden a special status as a classic.