Volym 140, 2019
Annika Bøstein Myhr, Department of Languages and Literature Studies, University of South-Eastern Norway
Sofi Oksanen’s Stalin’s Cows. A tale of covering up an illegal second language with a silent third one (Sofi Oksanens Stalins kyr. En beretning om å dekke over et ulovlig andrespråk med et taust tredje)
The article analyses Sofi Oksanen’s novel Stalin’s Cows (2009 ), focusing on how the Finnish-Estonian protagonist Anna develops a serious eating disorder, because she has to hide her knowledge of a second language, Estonian. Growing up in Finland during the Cold War, Anna learns that if she reveals her connection to her mother’s birth country Estonia, this may put the lives and health of her mother and other Estonian relatives at risk. Theoretically, the article draws on insights from research on Family Language Policy (FLP) and theory explaining the connections between memory, forgetting and identity. Combined with the method of narratology, these theories open up for a discussion of how Anna’s identity and eating disorder are influenced by suppressed, non-verbalised memories of Soviet and Estonia, as well as by Cold War tensions between Soviet Estonia and Finland in the capitalist West.
Arne Florin, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University
”Get rhythm!” Some remarks on prose rhythm and an analysis of Willy Kyrklund’s Mästaren Ma (”Get rhythm!” Några reflektioner kring prosarytm och en exempelanalys av Willy Kyrklunds Mästaren Ma)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the study of prose rhythm. I begin with a critical review of two recently published articles, both of which use quantitative methods for the examination of language rhythm. Then I move on to a discussion of the concept of rhythm. With reference to a study by Émile Benveniste I claim that rhythm should not be regarded only as a way of structuring the text but also as a dynamic, changing force. I further claim that it is important to integrate the study of rhythm with the study of semantics (which is hard to do using only quantitative methods). The second half of my paper consists of an analysis of rhythmic patterns in the short novel Mästaren Ma (1953) by the Swedish author Willy Kyrklund. I first study rhythm on a macro level. I emphasize that the division of the text between notes by Ma and comments on these notes by two other voices creates an accentuated rhythm, but that this rhythm is also variegated and transcended in various ways; for example, by using different kinds of repetitions, the reader is invited to identify other important rhythms (developments in Ma’s notes, the story and their effects on Ma). In general, it could be said that the reader is led by the rhythmic pattern – especially by the search for forms and the need to reassess these forms – to develop a sceptical attitude.
In the second part of the analysis I study rhythm on a micro level. After a short examination of differences between notes and comments and the possibility of pinpointing these differences by quantitative methods, I move on to the study of rhetorical/rhythmic devices.
In the last section I discuss how rhythms on different levels are related to each other. The stylized form of Ma’s notes makes them very pregnant and effective in their own right. But at the same time they are parts of a whole. The distinctive character of Mästaren Ma has much to do with the tension between stasis and motion/development.
Caroline Haux, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University
Economy of the Citizen Subject. Subjectivity, Biopower and Consumption Patterns in Two Early 19th-Century Novels (Medborgarsubjektets ekonomi. Subjektivitet, biomakt och konsumtionsmönster i två tidiga 1800-talsromaner)
It is not until the ordinary heroine Fransiska in Fredrika Bremer’s novel Grannarne [The Neighbours] has integrated into her new neighborhood that she can become a truly functional and self-governing individual. And it is only when the young customs officer Arve in Emilie Flygare-Carlén’s Rosen på Tistelön [The Rose of Thistle Island] gets involved in the welfare of the little coastal community that he lives up to his true potential as an autonomous and useful human being. The article discusses the way in which the individual in these novels is formed in a liberal economy. Subjectivation is looked upon from the perspective of Étienne Balibar, who equates the liberal subject with the citizen. Functioning dialectically both as subjugation and agency, subjectivation happens through collectivization.
Dag Hedman, Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg.
The Spy Who Wouldn’t Go Away: On Literary Recycling (Spionen som inte försvann. Om litterärt återbruk)
The Austrian counter-intelligence officer and master spy Alfred Redl caused the first great spy scandal in 1913, when he was exposed as a double agent. He was immediately commanded to commit suicide as part of a military cover-up to avoid a trial that would have been embarrassing to the authorities. In fact, the whole story was immediately exposed by the Prague journalist Egon Erwin Kisch, who later published several accounts of the case, the first and most detailed among them Der Fall des Generalstabschefs Redl (1924). The essay shows that the popular Swedish writers Sture Appelberg and Gunnar Serner (using his pen name Frank Heller) appropriated the core of Kisch’s text, disposing of his background material, and in part simply translating lengthy portions of the text. Neither of them acknowledged their debt to Kisch. As recent research has shown, the most spectacular part of Kisch’s account (about his own involvement) was pure fiction, as well as large parts of the background information. It is not clear if Appelberg and Serner regarded Der Fall des Generalstabschefs Redl as a true account or as fiction. Complaints from some of the reviewers make it obvious that the Alfred Redl story had already been exploited on the Swedish literary market when Appelberg and Serner decided to use it. The spy who was supposed to go away seems to have achieved enduring life in popular culture, especially film and literature.
Ingeborg Löfgren, Department of Literature, Uppsala University
Con-Science and The Whole: Sara Lidman’s Literary Philosophy (Sam-vettet och Det Hela. Sara Lidmans litterära filosofi)
This paper examines the authorship of the Swedish novelist and left-wing activist, Sara Lidman (1923–2004). It argues that by looking at Lidman’s authorship through her invented word “con-science” [“sam-vett”] and the concept of “The Whole” [“Det Hela”], we come to see that Lidman’s authorship comprises a philosophy in literary form: a philosophy about the conditions of human togetherness, understanding, and ethics. Furthermore, the paper argues that this philosophy requires literary expression in order to do its philosophical work. By reading Lidman’s texts in comparison with texts by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) and some of his commentators, the paper aims to show how Lidman’s ”con-science” constitutes a poetic and philosophical re-articulation of the question of the meaning of life, which corresponds with an existential vision of the world as “The Whole”.
Lena Manderstedt, Luleå University of Technology
Depictions of Women in an Emergent Modernity. Doomed Female Deadbeats and Country Women in Runar Schildt’s Short Stories (Kvinnoskildringar i en framväxande modernitet. Undergångsdömda dagdrivar- och allmogekvinnor i Runar Schildts novellistik)
This paper focuses on five of Runar Schildt’s short stories, published 1917–1920. The aim is to illustrate how female protagonists’ identities are shaped in relation to time and place in an emergent modernity. The depictions have been highlighted by using an underlying aesthetic related to theories of deadbeats, and a number of themes: the theme of escape, the theme of love and the theme of death. The selection of short stories was made observing the criterion of female protagonists. Peter Lamarque’s and Stein Haugom Olsen’s definition of perennial and topical themes, and Torsten Pettersson’s and Merere Mazzarella’s definitions of deadbeats have been used in the analysis. The analysis shows that the women in the selected short stories are doomed to defeat. This defeat is expressed in different ways: for the country women as physical or psychological death and for the urban women through a deceptive freedom. Women are associated with modernity by either representing it or by being attracted or alternatively being repulsed by it. In three of the short stories I refer to the women as deadbeats. This only applies to urban-life women. In the short stories that concern agrarian-culture women or country women, the doomed defeat is connected to loss of values and cultures that cannot survive in contemporary society. Based on selected themes I show how topical themes dominate the depictions of urban women, while perennial themes dominate the depictions of country women.
Gustaf Marcus, German and Nordic Studies, Sorbonne University
Strindberg, copywriter. Advertising, Attention, and the Society of the Spectacle in August Strindberg’s Work (Strindberg, copywriter. Reklam, uppmärksamhet och skådespelssamhället i August Strindbergs verk)
This article examines the role of advertising, attention, and what Guy Debord calls the “society of the spectacle” in the work of August Strindberg. Its point of departure is a discussion of Strindberg’s own work in advertising and close readings of three texts that were inspired by contemporary advertising practices: Röda rummet (The Red Room, 1879), “Mitt Venedig” (1888) [My Venice], and Stora landsvägen (The Great Highway, 1909).
The article shows that Strindberg was inspired by the new forms of aesthetic expression made possible by advertising throughout his life, from the early work in the 1870s up to the last texts written shortly before his death in 1912. It also traces a development in the treatment of advertising in his work. In the earlier texts, exemplified by a reading of the novel Röda rummet, advertising is treated as a simple form of fraud or swindle. In the later texts, on the other hand, advertising makes visible a new and increasingly important part of reality: the functioning of attention and sense perception.
Inspired by advertising, attention itself becomes Strindberg’s primary interest in the travelogue “Mitt Venedig”. In the late play Stora landsvägen, where the action takes place in a passage covered by display windows, the advertisements’ control of attention is seen as an inseparable part of human interaction. Drawing on the theoretical work of Guy Debord and Jonathan Crary, this immersion into the world of advertising is described as a vision of a new form of consumer society, the society of the spectacle, where value is mediated through images and is inseparable from modern forms of control and discipline of attention.
Nina Tahmasebi, Centre for Digital Humanities, Språkbanken, University of Gothenburg
Simon Hengchen, COMHIS, Department of Digital Humanities, University of Helsinki
The strengths and pitfalls of large-scale text mining for literary studies
This paper is an overview of the opportunities and challenges of using large-scale text mining to answer research questions that stem from the humanities in general and literature specifically. In this paper, we will discuss a data-intensive research methodology and how different views of digital text affect answers to research questions. We will discuss results derived from text mining, how these results can be evaluated, and their relation to hypotheses and research questions. Finally, we will discuss some pitfalls of computational literary analysis and give some pointers as to how these can be avoided.
Karl Berglund, Department of Literature, Uppsala University
Mats Dahllöf, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University
Jerry Määttä, Department of Literature, Uppsala University
Apples and Oranges? Large-Scale Thematic Comparisons of Contemporary Swedish Popular and Literary Fiction
The aim of this article is to compare thematic trends in contemporary Swedish bestselling and literary fiction with the help of a computational method—topic modelling—which extracts content themes based on statistical patterns of word usage. This procedure allows us to identify trends and patterns that are not easily discovered through manual reading. We track topics in two subsets of Swedish fiction from the period 2004–2017: 1) prose fiction on the Swedish bestseller charts, and 2) prose fiction shortlisted for the August Prize (arguably the most prestigious Swedish literary prize). The results confirm several assumptions about contemporary popular and literary fiction, such as more plot-focused themes in popular fiction and themes more connected to settings in literary fiction. But the outcomes also provide new, and more surprising knowledge, such as food and economy being the most biased themes among the non-crime fiction bestsellers, whereas themes concerning nature are most biased in the literary realm. Moreover, themes relating to sex, intimacy, and violence are biased towards literary fiction rather than popular fiction. In the light of our findings, we argue that both popular fiction and literary fiction seem to be characterised by certain thematic attributes that make it relevant to discuss them as genres also on a textual-thematic level.
David Håkansson, Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University
Carin Östman, Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University
“the teacher interrupted eagerly”: A diachronic study of the speech-tag in Swedish fiction (“afbröt skolläraren ifrigt”. En diakron studie av anföringssatsen i svensk skönlitteratur)
The narrative structure of Swedish fiction underwent several changes during the 20th century, and it has been emphasized that the role of the narrator was reduced. In order to shed light on this change towards a more ”objective” style in Swedish fiction, this article reports a diachronic study of speech-tags in Swedish 18th- and 19th-century novels. In direct discourse the reader meets the voices of the characters without any involvement of the narrator. However, the narrator still has an opportunity to give complementary information about the utterance and the speaker by using the speech-tag, and hence, a study of speech-tags can contribute to the discussion of the narrator’s transformed role in Swedish fiction. In this study, the form and function of speech-tags are examined in terms of structure, position and content. The result of the analysis shows that the speech-tags in the 20th century novels are much less varied in comparison with the novels from the 19th century. Moreover, the speech-tags in the modern novels are shorter and dominated by the verb säga ’say’ to a much higher extent. In the older novels, on the other hand, the speech-tags are dominated by verbs reporting something about the content or the function of the utterance, such as fråga ‘ask’ or hota ‘threaten’. As far as the position of the speech-tags is concerned, the results show that the final position dominates to a greater extent in the modern novels. On the whole, the results of the study confirm the picture of a reduced narrator in Swedish fiction over time.
Heidi Karlsen, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo
Sub-corpus topic modeling: Mining, Trawling, or Cookery? (Sub-corpus topic modeling og diskursanalyse: gruvearbeid, tråling eller kokekunst?)
This article presents the data-mining technique sub-corpus topic modeling and argues that it is well suited for capturing data that can be used for discourse analysis. Epistemological implications of digital methods and the related concept of ”data-mining” in the humanities are discussed based on Emely Apter’s 2017 essay ”Overburden.” ”Mining” as a metaphor may indicate that knowledge is regarded as something that is extracted and refined, as metals are from mines. In this case, data-mining may appear incompatible with the ”surface reading” on which discourse analysis depends. This article argues, however, that sub-corpus topic modeling, with some adjustments, particularly preserves the ”surface” of the research objects, which is demonstrated by means of a detailed, but accessible presentation of the method. Sub-corpus topic modeling uses themes modeled from a ”sub-corpus” to search for the same themes in a larger corpus. With the Norwegian National Library’s ”Bokhylla” (the ”Digital Bookshelf ”), a large number of texts are available digitally. As an example of how sub-corpus topic modeling can be used to capture data for discourse analysis, the Digital Bookshelf constitutes the larger corpus, while texts by the Swedish author Fredrika Bremer constitute the sub-corpora.