Volym 135, 2014
Krzysztof Bak, Department of Literature and History of Ideas, Stockholm University, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures / Section for Swedish Language and Literature, Jagiellonian University, Cracow
What is Hidden in Västerbotten’s Stomach. On Augustine and Torgny Lindgren’s Minnen
(Vad döljer sig i Västerbottens mage? Om Augustinus och Torgny Lindgrens Minnen)
The article examines the intertextual relation between Torgny Lindgren’s Minnen (2010) and Augustine’s Confessions, from which Lindgren has taken the motto for his memoir. By using the patristic intertext as a starting point, the investigation aims to show how Lindgren has constructed the image of Västerbotten, his home district. The opening part of the article (1)establishes the hermeneutic principles of the study. The second part (2.1–2.4) charts parallels between text and intertext in their portrayal of grace, evil, and man. It emerges that those elements of Lindgren’s worldview which are particularly closely related to Augustinian theology are also the ones that possess a strong Västerbottenian character. The third part of the article (3.1–3.2.3) demonstrates that most of the differences between Minnen and Confessions can be linked to the cultural memory of modernity, which documents the rise and fall of industrial subjectivity. In the fourth part (4.1–4.3), it is argued that Lindgren’s memoir attempts to counteract the crisis of industrial cultural memory by reviving the Augustinian forms of memoria. Within his image of Västerbotten, Lindgren finds adequate metaphorical models for use in his compensatory project of counter-memory. In the concluding part of the article (5) it is observed that, just as Lindgren’s dialogue with Augustine recapitulates the history of Western memory, the memoir’s Västerbotten is elevated to the status of a universal symbol of European consciousness and its fate.
Dag Hedman, Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg
Gardens in 17th-Century Librettos (Trädgårdar i 1600-talslibretton)
In the 17th century, a repertory of scenography evolved, including such standard locations as interiors and exteriors of palaces, ruins, prisons, caves, forests and gardens. This essay deals with the use of gardens in the libretto of the 17th century, and the relationship between the location and the plots and dialogues, respectively, in the texts. Among the questions answered are: Do the authors link the garden scenery to what is going on in the drama, and, if so, how? Is it possible be discern any typical action that goes on in a garden? Is there any tendency pertaining to frequency, in other words: did gardens become more or less common in the music drama of the 1600s?
Staffan Hellberg, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Stockholm University
Did Strindberg renew the verse drama? Metre, poetic word order, and changes of subject in Master Olof
(Förnyade Strindberg versdramat? Versmått, poetisk ordföljd och ämnesbyten i Mäster Olof)
Strindberg’s decision to write the third version of his drama Master Olof in verse may have been a concession to historical drama tradition. The question posed here is whether he renewed the Swedish verse drama. It is shown that, contrary to general belief, Strindberg was the first author in the 19th century to use doggerel verse. Concerning poetic word order, his renewal is less apparent, although he shows a special tendency to vary the degree and kind of poetic wordorder with the situation. Finally, the dialogue is examined with a conversation analysis method. It is shown that Strindberg’s characters, also in verse drama, change the subject of the conversation in a manner closer to observed natural talk than do those of his predecessors.
Magnus Nilsson, School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University
A New Generation – An Innovated Tradition? Strategies of Class Politics in Contemporary Swedish-Language Working-Class Literature (En ny generation – en förnyad tradition? Klasspolitiska strategier i samtida svenskspråkig arbetarlitteratur)
The aim of this article is to analyze how the emergence in recent years of a new generation of working-class writers has contributed to the development of the tradition of Swedish working-class literature. First, I investigate these writers’ representations of class and class injustice. Thereafter, I discuss how the attempts by contemporary working-class writers to innovate the tradition of working-class literature, by breaking with the realism usually considered to be its aesthetic backbone, have made it possible to use this tradition as a platform for literary critique of class injustice.
Magnus Ullén, Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies, Karlstad University
The Figure of Christ: Literary Interpretation and the Rhetoric of Faith (Kristusprincipen. Om litteraturtolkning och trons retorik)
The article provides a detailed discussion of French theologian Henri de Lubac’s account of medieval exegesis. It considers in particular the function of Christ in the medieval fourfold system of interpretation, arguing that Christ — or christos — amounts to a metaleptic trope which grounds the system of faith upon which medieval exegesis is built. For the believer, it is through Christ that the ideological dimension of the Bible is realized: it is through the believer’s faith that christos constitutes a value inherent in the sacred text that this text enters historical reality, as it were, in the form of the acts and discursive practice of the believer. This way of entering into the Biblical text in many ways resembles the way readers of literary texts more generally can be said to enter into the texts they engage with. While the fourfold method of exegesis eventually fell out of fashion, the article suggests that its principal categories – the allegorical, the tropological, and the anagogical — did not disappear but rather were transformed into an alternative set of categories, namely the philological, the aesthetic, and the ideological. Neither was the rhetorical office of christos as a trope abandoned; rather, it took on a more secular shape, first in the form of the self, and then — under the influence of increasingly materialist modes of thinking — in the form of the text. Even so, literary interpretation even today remains liable to give in to the idealizing force of christos, as witnessed by the tendency to read texts as reflecting the identities of writers and readers, rather than the letter in all its situational contingency.
Sten Wistrand, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University
Astrid Lindgren’s “most problematic book”. Ontology, genre, and function in Sunnanäng (Astrid Lindgrens ”mest problematiska bok”. Ontologi, genre och funktion i Sunnanäng)
Sunnanäng (1959) has been described as Astrid Lindgren’s “most problematic book”. The reason for this is its ambiguous status, critics being uncertain whether it is to be regarded as a work for children or adults. There are not that many interpretations of it, and it is obviously hard to deal with. Recurring questions when it comes to the tales of Lindgren are genre and ontology. Are for example the adventures in Nangiyala, in The Brothers Lionheart, to be seen as only existing in the mind of the sick and dying Karl or not? The same type of question, which could be related to Todorov’s concept of the fantastic, is often dealt with when discussing the four tales in Sunnanäng. It is common to suggest that we are to naturalize them in a realistic way, i.e. as dreams or fantasies within the minds of the protagonists. This, however, often proves not to be so easy, even though Lindgren’s text itself at times hints at this kind of interpretation. In this article I discuss these questions, exemplifying them with the “problematic” tales of Sunnanäng. Lindgren treats similar motifs in different ways in different narratives, and she also puts different genres into play, making a special genre more or less dominant in each tale: myth, Christian legend, local legend, and medieval allegory, respectively. The article is grounded in a view of fiction which highlights the rhetorical strategy of a work, focusing on how theme is generated and on the effect and function of the narrative and its motifs and devices.
Ljubica Miočević, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University
I vänskapsfull åtanke. Ett brev från Lorenzo Hammarsköld till Carl Fredrik Dahlgren (In friendly remembrance. A letter from Lorenzo Hammarsköld to Carl Fredrik Dahlgren)
The correspondence of the Swedish Romanticists is still largely unpublished. By publishing and discussing one of the many letters, I wish to illustrate some of the benefits of making the Romanticists’ correspondence available in critical editions. In this section, a letter from Lorenzo Hammarsköld to C.F. Dahlgren, written in 1823, is edited and commentated. The edition is preceded by an introduction, where I point to the important role that Hammarsköld played in Romantic literary networks. The letter reveals new information regarding the publication of several Romantic works, including Almqvist’s Amorina (1822). Further, Hammarsköld’s letter is discussed as an example of a particular epistolary style among the Swedish Romanticists, marked by humour and allegories that often imply a close knowledge of the reader.