Volym 126, 2005
Erik Zillén, Den första svenskspråkiga fabelsamlingen som konfessionaliseringsprojekt. (The First Fable Collection in Swedish as Confessionalization Project.)
Literary scholars have taken very little interest in the first collection of fables published in Swedish, Hundrade Esopi Fabler (A Hundred Fables of Aesop, 1603), compared to the interest shown its European counterparts. Based on research in the interdisciplinary field of ecclesiastical history, the present paper relates Hundrade Esopi Fabler to the concept of confessionalization, elaborated in recent studies on the fusion of state and religion that took place in Europe after the reformation. In Sweden, this process reached its peak at around the turn of the 16th century. The paper’s main line of argument claims that the first fable collection in Swedish made a contribution to the ongoing process of Lutheran confessionalization, which, since the Uppsala Assembly in 1593, was clearly intensifying as it aimed not only at conjoining the state and the church but also at shaping a homogenous national-confessional identity by means of education and social discipline.
The paper investigates a set of contextual and textual factors determining Hundrade Esopi Fabler as a confessionalization project. It can be proved that the Swedish collection is a faithful translation of a German fable collection composed in the 1570s by Nathan Chytraeus, a Latin professor at the Lutheran University of Rostock and the younger brother of the famous Rostock theologian David Chytraeus. The latter had an exceptional impact on religious life in Sweden, as most Swedish clergymen during the second half of the 16th century were educated by him. Nathan Chytraeus’ Hundert Fabeln aus Esopo was translated into Swedish by Nicolaus Balk, a student in Rostock in the 1560s and later a vicar in the county of Södermanland, which, under the reign of Duke Karl, was the center of orthodox Lutheranism (or the so-called Rostock orthodoxy) within the kingdom of Sweden. Between 1596 and 1611 Nicolaus Balk published five translations, four of them being strictly religious volumes with a clear Lutheran bias and the fifth being Hundrade Esopi Fabler. It is established that the first fable collection in Swedish owes a significant part of its character as confessionalization project to the fact, firstly, that it was a Chytraeus product from Rostock and, secondly, that it formed part of the expanding Lutheran book printing that followed the Uppsala Assembly.
Several important textual factors that are scrutinized in the paper show Hundrade Esopi Fabler to be an element of the confessionalization process. The Swedish fable collection systematically refers to the authority of Martin Luther and his high esteem for the fable genre; in 1530 Luther himself set out to compose a morally edifying, though never completed, fable collection in German. The Swedish translator’s preface praises Luther as fable reviser and Luther’s own foreword of 1530, which is a veritable apology for the usefulness of the genre, is in extenso translated and included in the Swedish volume. Moreover, the fable collection proper begins with 15 fables as revised by Luther. These 15 texts, placed within the body of fables as initial reading instruction, represent what might be termed a Lutheran fable model, which functions, in form as well as in content, as the norm for the collection in its entirety. When this model is sometimes abandoned, the outcome, strikingly, often serves to reinforce the collection’s Christianizing and Lutheranizing tendencies. The analyses of a number of individual fable texts demonstrate that when compared to earlier vernacular collections of fables, the Lutheran outlook in Hundrade Esopi Fabler distinctly manifests itself by stressing the supremacy of God, the hierarchy of society and the principle of patriarchy.
The paper concludes by discussing some aspects, two of them being effects of strong genre conventions, that might have complicated Hundrade Esopi Fabler as confessionalization project: the presence of mythological deities in the fable stories, the inclusion of the Aesop novel in the collection, and finally, the conversion of Nathan Chytraeus in the 1590s from Lutheranism to Calvinism. The paper shows that the first two aspects are played down to suit the overall Lutheran approach of the collection, whereas the religious reorientation of the elderly Nathan Chytraeus probably played only a marginal role, if any, for Swedish readers. The final conclusion hence remains that the ancient genre of Aesopic fable was initially received in Swedish through the filter of German Lutheranism.
Louise Vinge, Länge nog… Om slutpassagen i prospektet till Liljor i Saron. (Long Enough…: On the Final Passage in the Prospectus to Lilies in Sharon.)
In December 1820, Erik Johan Stagnelius sent out a prospectus in order to get subscribers to his collection of poems, Liljor i Saron. In this text, he explained his ideas of theosophy and his use of myths. He also declared that Poetry had hitherto debased itself by giving attention to an "unworthy object" ("ovärdigt föremål"). In his edition (1915), however, Fredrik Böök read "to unworthy objects" ("ovärdiga föremål"), thus creating an image of Stagnelius as a would-be reformer of the poetry of his age in general. This view was put forward in Böök’s many works on Stagnelius and has become influential. By reading the text in the original printing and in light of Stagnelius’s usual imagery, it can be confirmed that Stagnelius had his own previous writings in mind, not those of his contemporaries, and that he saw himself as a penitent and a religious convert.
Mattias Pirholt, Naturens fördubbling. Från symbol till allegori i Ola Hanssons tidiga författarskap. (The Duplication of Nature: From Symbol to Allegory in Ola Hansson’s Early Work.)
This study deals with the Swedish writer Ola Hansson’s work from the 1880’s and early 1890’s and the shift from a symbolical to an allegorical mode of writing. Hansson’s early work, Dikter (1884, Poems), Notturno (1885), Sensitiva amorosa (1887) and Parias (1890), plays a significant part in the realistic and naturalistic movement of the 1880’s in Sweden, and the author is considered to be one of the central figures in what has been called the modern breakthrough in Scandinavian literature. In the late 1880’s, Hansson discovered Friedrich Nietzsche, whose work had a great impact on Swedish literature in general and on Hansson in particular. His encounter with Nietzsche resulted in a collection of prose poems, Ung Ofegs visor (1892, Young Ofeg’s Ditties), and an extensive essay on the German philosopher. Nietzsche’s ideological influence on Hansson is well documented, as well as his influence on Hansson’s style in Ung Ofegs visor, whose prophetic and pseudo-biblical style bears great resemblance to Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra.
Hansson’s work prior to Ung Ofegs visor is dominated by a symbolical mode of writing, i.e., a mode of writing that is constituted by thematic and linguistic unity. The romantic conception of the symbol, as it is developed in the early 19th century by, among others, J. W. von Goethe, F. W. J. Schelling and G. W. F. Hegel, stresses the synthesis of the signifier and the signified. The symbol is, according to the romantics, the representation of the absolute. It is in the particularity of the intuitive symbol and not in the conventionality and generality of the allegorical mode that the absolute is expressible. In allegory, in contrast, the signifier and the signified do not merge. Rather, the very difference between the constituents of the sign becomes productive. In the criticism of Friedrich Schlegel in the 19th century and of Walter Benjamin and Paul de Man in the 20th century, allegory replaces symbol as the central semontological trope, which, contrary to the symbol, separates being and meaning, signifier and signified. It is represented by decay and destruction (the corpse and the ruin) and characterises the conventionality and arbitrariness of language in general.
The poems in Dikter and Notturno and the short stories in Sensitiva amorosa conform to the strong romantic tradition of the symbol. The intimate relations between man and nature and between subject and object are repeatedly expressed as a reciprocal movement, flowing and growing in both man and nature. The language of the human sphere is applied to the natural and vice versa. Hansson depicts a joint and intertwining force that runs through the world and that is the cause of both growth and deterioration of all living things. Unlike earlier studies on Hansson’s poems, this paper does not want to describe the relation between man and nature as a translation of spiritual phenomena into nature, but as a reciprocity that dissolves the boundaries between the experiencing subject and the experienced world. The symbolic mode also applies to Hansson’s political poetry in Dikter and Notturno, where the writer argues for a society based on unity, and to the linguistic and metapoetical level, where writing is symbolically depicted as a natural phenomenon, interlacing the language of the poet with nature.
Hansson’s collection of prose poems, Ung Ofegs visor, does not only imitate the allegorical style of Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra, but also radically breaks with the symbolical conception of man and nature in the early work. The experience of the world is no longer founded on unity and the amalgamation of life by an omnipresent force. On the contrary, both nature and the social relations of men are permeated with a ubiquitous dualism: between good and evil, strong and weak, free and enslaved etc. The allegorical mode violently breaks the bonds that previously formed a totality of man, nature and language. Nature is transformed from a living unity into an artificial and allegorical sign, into a language that is unable to connect the subject with the object. The allegory in Ung Ofegs visor, however, remains an isolated experiment in Hansson’s work. During the 1890’s and the early 20th century, he returns to the symbolical mode of writing of the earliest work.
Claes Ahlund, Krig och kultur i konservativ och radikal belysning. Annie Åkerhielm och Frida Stéenhoff från sekelskiftet till första världskriget. (War and Culture in a Conservative and a Radical Light: Annie Åkerhielm and Frida Stéenhoff from the Turn of the Century to the First World War.)
The purpose of the essay is to discuss the conceptions of war and of contemporary society and culture put forward in the writings of two diametrical political opposites: the conservative Annie Åkerhielm (1869–1958) and the radical feminist Frida Stéenhoff (1865–1945). Åkerhielm and Stéenhoff both engaged in the debate on war and culture by publishing a number of pamphlets and polemic articles, but they were also writers of fiction. Åkerhielm published novels, short stories and poetry; Stéenhoff, a number of plays, but also some novels.
Annie Åkerhielm and Frida Stéenhoff represent different political parties: Åkerhielm, the conservative and pro-German nationalists; Steenhoff, the radical liberal pacifists. Åkerhielm advocates the value of war and stresses the individual’s duty to subordinate himself to the state, opinions closely related to those of anti-democratic and anti-liberal thinkers such as Rudolf Kjellén and Werner Sombart and propagated as "The Ideas of 1914". Stéenhoff, on the other hand, upholds a radical interpretation of the tradition of the Enlightenment, emphasizing the rights and liberty of the individual, including women, and embracing an optimistic theory of evolution. This makes her a pronounced representative of the antagonistic tradition, "The Ideas of 1789", identified by Kjellén as a major threat to the well-being of the nation.
The outbreak of the war, being a major setback for international cooperation and the peace movement, temporarily caused Frida Stéenhoff to mistrust her own faith in progress and the final triumph of her ideals of love, peace, and liberty. At the end of the war, Annie Åkerhielm suffered a similar dejection caused by the collapse of Germany and the ideals and the culture it represented. Stéenhoff’s reactions are discussed with the novel Ljusa bragder och mörka dåd (1915) ("Bright feats and dark deeds"), the pamphlet "Krigets herrar – världens herrar! (1915) ("The lords of war — the lords of the world"), and the essay "Den nya moralen och Ellen Key som dess tolkare" (1919, "The new morality and Ellen Key as its interpreter") as a point of departure. The discussion of Åkerhielm’s reactions to the war centres on the poem "Emden" (1914), the collection of short stories, Sagor och fantasier (1915, "Tales and fantasies"), the pamphlet Antidemokratiska stämningsstunder (1917, "In the anti-democratic mood"), and the novel Anno Domini (1921).
Andreas Nyblom, Kampen om eftermälet. Stiftelsen Övralid och Heidenstams sista vilja. (The Battle of Posterity: Heidenstam’s Last Will and the Controversy of its Interpretation.)
The essay deals with the last and, to a great extent, unexplored years of the life of Verner von Heidenstam (1859–1940), and in particular with the diffculties concerning the establishment and interpretation of his will. The two decades following Heidenstam’s successful debut in 1888 were marked by a tremendous growth of fame and renown. He was elected member of the Swedish Academy in 1912 and received the Nobel Prize in 1916. Shortly thereafter, however, he fell into silence. The first signs of senile decay appeared in the early 1930s and his further deterioration provided the opportunity for a small crowd of people to influence the design of his will. In the years prior to his death, a misdirected concern for the writer’s place in history was prevalent among people close to him, and his heritage therefore became a mix of myth and falsehood. In the effort to exert influence on the writer’s posthumous reputation, the truth about his life in old age was disregarded. The violation of Heidenstam’s integrity involved among other things the eviction and deletion of his common-law wife and the simultaneous reintroduction of his first, lawfully wedded wife. The main beneficiary of Heidenstam’s will was the Övralid Foundation, which was assigned the task of administrating his estate, literary remains and fortune. The earlier intrigues now caused difficulties within the management of the foundation concerning the interpretation and execution of the will. Disagreement regarding the testator’s health and his soundness of mind when signing the will led to continuous conflicts which in many ways would have impact on the subsequent view of Verner von Heidenstam in literary history.
Anežka Kuzmicová, En myrtenkvist i högra ögat. Torgny Lindgrens Legender i möte med bysantinska helgonberättelser. (A Myrtle Bough in the Right Eye: Legender [Legends] by Torgny Lindgren Encountering Byzantine Saints’ Lives.)
The historical connotation of the word "legend" in the European literary discourse imposes upon the reader of any text of such attribution the presumption of certain specific genre features. Given their content, the short stories gathered in Legender [Legends] (1986) by Torgny Lindgren do not, at first glance, display many parallels with Christian hagiography, apart from a few traditional topoi. Taking into account, however, the Byzantine hagiographical narratives about the desert hermits and, above all, about the holy fools, a large number of homologies become apparent. Like the early Byzantine Life of Symeon the Fool by Leontius of Neapolis, which serves as the major means of illustration throughout this comparative paper, the stories from Legender mainly feature characters acting in a manner opposite to the traditional forms of sanctity. At the same time, the narrative mode prevailing in Lindgren’s short stories is one of ambiguity. Hence, the characters of Legender are portrayed as oscillating between exemplary conduct and foolishness. This remarkable common feature serves as a suitable point of departure for such a reading of Legender which refers to Byzantine hagiography as intertextual background.
Nevertheless, as this study is meant to demonstrate, the recurrent thematic affinity with holy foolishness is only a symptom of a far more complex correspondence between the Byzantine intertexts and the eight short stories selected from Legender. With the help of numerous quotations from primary and secondary sources, distinct parallels are shown to exist between the orthodox Christian, particularly the Byzantine, conception of man and universe, and the one which is manifest in Legender. The disposition of the argumentation is based on a gradual descent from the most general aspects of the affinity, such as the paradoxical, overall synthetic way of understanding the world, to its more specific symptoms: the strictly non-dualistic conception of man resulting in the accentuated corporality of the characters, unprecedented in Christian writings, and the tendency to perceive all creation as holy, which to the characters’ corporality ascribes a special semiotic significance.
On a more specific level, the synthetic world view implies a particular understanding of the relationship between the community and human individual. As they consistently assign a holy value to the community, supreme in relation to the interests of any individual, and as they put stress on the destructive impact of any behaviour not respecting such principle, Lindgren’s narratives are constructed upon ethical rules identical to the fundaments of orthodox Christianity. This ethical kinship becomes most evident in the narratives in which the characters practise kenosis.
Thus, one of the most remarkable paradoxes common to the Byzantine stories of the desert hermits and holy fools and Legender is the fact that their protagonists, while mostly portrayed with the aura of certain sanctity, offend the rule of the primacy of fellowship by living in isolation. There are two different forms of this severe seclusion of theirs: a predominantly spiritual one, i.e. the holy foolishness, and a complex one, both spiritual and physical, i.e. the hermit life.
As opposed to the Byzantine texts about the holy fools, there are no explicit apologetics implemented in Legender proclaiming the characters’ sanctity unquestionable despite their acts of folly. In this sense, the narratives are entirely consistent in their ambiguity. On the other hand, a considerable degree of understanding is expressed by the narrator even for the characters who commit major crimes, since the fictional world of Legender is reflected from a strictly deterministic perspective.
Finally, the paper demonstrates how the correspondence of ideas between the Byzantine texts and Lindgren’s narratives is reflected in the literary style of Legender. Rhetorical features typical of Byzantine texts recurrent in Legender are inter alia: the general lack of psychology, anti-aesthetic description, hyperbole and, above all, the paradox. Hence, ambiguity remains the constitutive principle in Lindgren’s ’legends’ even regarding the individual utterance.