Volym 137, 2016
Money and myths: An exploration of models of value in early 19th-century literature and texts on economy (Myt och metall. Värdemodeller i litteratur och ekonomisk prosa under tidigt 1800-tal)
The main aim of this paper is to show how the concept of money could be treated in literary and in economic writings in the Swedish Age of Romanticism. Three texts — an early poem by Erik Johan Stagnelius and two contemporary essays in economic theory — serve as examples of how, and for which purpose, qualitative and quantitative values could be negotiated in these writings. The study shows that, in the poem, money and profit are treated as inconsistent with such qualitative values as freedom, justice, and joy, whereas the two theoretical essays both make use of different strategies of fictionalization to deal with qualitative and quantitative values in one and the same narration. In this paper, the fictionalization strategies are linked to the para-capitalist approach often to be found in the political and economic theories in the Romantic period. From the perspective of economy-discourse history, an attempt is made to link the two essays to the German economist and philosopher Adam Müller and his Versuche einer neuen Theorie des Geldes (1816).
“You have to understand my situation!” Irony, humour and the pathetic in the works of Kristina Lugn (”Du måste försöka leva dig in i min situation!” Ironi, humor och det patetiska hos Kristina Lugn)
Use of irony has long been conceived as the primary characteristic of the Swedish author Kristina Lugn (1948–). In this article I treat irony as an important feature in Lugn’s literary texts — but I further argue, with support from claims made by the author, that the role of irony is significantly lesser in Lugn’s later authorship, which instead tries to establish “humour” as a mode of reception. This switch also corresponds (but is not identical) to Lugn’s change from writing collections of poems to primarily writing plays instead. The modes of irony and humour are both effectuated through breaches of style. Two or more stylistic levels can collide with each other, creating dissonance between different levels of reality, or words are used in non-idiomatic senses, thus creating unexpected connections and revealing several layers of meaning. The mode of irony is primarily established through the first technique, and aims to create a distance between the event and the statement, a distance which creates room for criticism. The mode of humour is more often established through the second technique, and aims at empathy with the person speaking, rather than establishing distance. Likewise, this mode does not separate between apparent meaning and implied meaning. Lastly, I argue that the mode of humour, which in Lugn’s texts seems close to that of the romantics, is connected to a sort of rehabilitation of the pathetic as an affect. By humorously treating classic topics such as love, death, family conflicts and illness, Lugn is being pathetic in the classical sense of arousing strong emotions, while at the same time — by inserting stylistic switches between the poetically serious and the prosaically mundane — being able to view the pathetic, in the sense of “overtly emotional”, in a humorous light.
The Swedish novel of the 1840s as national cartography (Den svenska 1840-talsromanen som nationell kartografi)
The Swedish novel of the 1840s maps the nation. Whereas the novels of the 1830s advocate a predominantly cultural nationalism, the nationalism in the novels of the 1840s connects to the national territory. Inspired by Franco Moretti, a map is used as an analytical tool marking out travel routes in Sweden and Norway in 15 novels by the best-selling authors Fredrika Bremer (1801–1865), Sophie von Knorring (1797–1848), Emilie Flygare-Carlén (1807–1892), and C.J.L. Almqvist (1793–1866). The map shows that the national territory is unevenly covered: most of the novels are set in the provinces surrounding the lake Vättern, possibly creating a new water centre for the nation, while Dalecarlia, later to become the ”core province” of Sweden, is still considered too wild and remote. Furthermore, the map shows that borders become the focus of attention as territory gains importance. Geography teaching is a recurrent theme in the novels, and the national map is even portrayed as the body of Mother Svea — national boundaries conjure up an eroticised unity, a body evoking love. Nevertheless, the imagined geographies connecting cultural nationalism to territory also have the paradoxical effect of constructing the provinces as separate national communities. Therefore, external as well as internal borders appear as important narrative sites. Nationalist thought at the beginning of the 19th century was often part of a liberal movement developing the idea of citizenship, and in these novels the borders instigate narratives of citizenship. The borders intensify the promises of the nation-state to the citizen: the border is the site where bodies that do not comply with societal norms can find a place to make their contribution to the nation. However, the border is also the site where citizenship is contested, as unstable law enforcement exposes the characters to lethal violence.
Transferring a Novel. The Piano Teacher between the Austrian, German, and Swedish fields of literary criticism (Att transferera en roman. Die Klavierspielerin mellan det österrikiska, tyska och svenska kritikerfältet)
The purpose of the essay is to examine the literary transfer of Elfriede Jelinek’s commercial breakthrough novel The Piano Teacher (Die Klavierspielerin, 1983) between Austria, Germany, and Sweden. The phenomenon of literary transfer essentially feeds on powerful mechanisms of literary success — specifically, the way status (literary value) and attention (economic value and media capital) are created. The study seeks to contribute to the understanding of transnational literary transfer by exploring two dimensions: (1) the relations between fields of cultural production, and (2) the role of individual gatekeepers within the fields. The main focus is on literary criticism in the general and specialized press. The study also touches on the marketing strategies of the publishing houses and the media coverage of Jelinek in interviews. The literary criticism is roughly ordered along the axis of autonomous — commercial/heteronymous. The normative and conceptual systems of the national fields of literary criticism are examined and compared. The national fields of literary criticism show many structural similarities, but also display their own separate and consistent value and norm systems. The autonomous or specialized criticism to some extent addresses the textual functions and literary methods of Jelinek’s novel. Swedish critics in the daily press display a greater interest in textual and rhetorical devices than their German-speaking counterparts, which may be linked to the contemporary Swedish discussion of post-structuralism and language awareness. Notable deviating voices draw on literary or media capital as well as on critical capital. Such ‘hybrids’, amassing a substantial amount of literary capital, use their positions as gatekeepers to promote Jelinek’s text.
Bellman, Hafiz, Anacreon: Gustaf Ljunggren and the Scale of World Literature (Bellman, Hafiz, Anakreon: Gustaf Ljunggren och världslitteraturens skala)
In his study of Carl Michael Bellman, literary historian Gustaf Ljunggren (1823–1905), compared the Swedish poet not only to the traditional object of comparison, the ancient Greek poet Anacreon, but also to the Persian fourteenth-century poet Hafiz. This article revisits Ljunggren’s work in the light of recent discussions about world literature and the role of historical scale in literary studies. It investigates how a change of scale, in large part due to the professionalization of historical research, created many of the prevailing assumptions concerning the proper object of Swedish literary studies and its possible connections to the literature of other countries. In Ljunggren’s work we find an interesting alternative to the view of nation and periodization that came to dominate the discipline.
Fact, fiction, or faction? Elisabeth Åsbrink’s Och i Wienerwald står träden kvar [And in Wienerwald the trees are still standing] from the perspective of fictional theory (Fakta, fiktion, faktion? Elisabeth Åsbrinks Och i Wienerwald står träden kvar ur ett fiktionsteoretiskt perspektiv)
The purpose of this study is to discuss the question of fact, fiction, and faction using as an example Elisabeth Åsbrink’s Och i Wienerwald står träden kvar (2013), the story of a Jewish boy who was rescued from Nazi Vienna to Sweden by Svenska Israelmissionen in 1939. When published, it was praised in reviews but also questioned for blurring the border between fact and fiction. In the article three different kinds of fiction theories are brought into play and their capability of coming to terms with Åsbrink’s rhetorical strategies, and with literary journalism of this kind, is examined and discussed. The conclusion is that theories focusing on purely extra-textual or intra-textual features get into trouble as opposed to a more pragmatic view treating fictionality as an act of rhetorical communication. It also seems clear that faction is a concept of disputable value.
The poem in “the new world of peace”. The literary debate in the magazine Samtid och Framtid 1944–1949 (Dikten i ”den nya fredens värld”. Litteraturdebatt i tidskriften Samtid och Framtid 1944–1949)
This paper analyses the literature debate in the Swedish magazine Samtid och Framtid 1944–1949. The magazine was first published at the end of World War II on the initiative of publisher Johan Hansson. After an interesting start, the terms of the debate in the magazine were changed after a power struggle on the editorial level. Thus, the magazine never became the influential arena for literary discussions that it originally had the potential for. With their initial focus on how to construct a new post-war world, the debates in the magazine, however, provide interesting material for an analysis of a discursive struggle, in which attempts were made to renegotiate the position of literature in society. This analysis is conducted through a perspective that focuses on the debaters’ use of metaphors, but also their specific experiences of the past and their expectations for the future. Central oppositions between aesthetic and committed ideals are highlighted, but also between individualism and collectivism. It is additionally demonstrated that the debates successively turned more concrete, focusing not least on the very influential Swedish literary generation of the 1940s.