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Per Thomas Andersen

ABSTRACT

In this article I argue that Scandinavian literature in the last 25 years is characterized by an exploration of postmodern conditions for identity construction. My point of departure is that the posttraditional society of late modernity can be described as a community experiencing deep unrest in the two ”nests” which provided most people with feelings of belonging and security in the traditional modern epoch, i.e. the nuclear family and the nation. I analyze two Norwegian novels, Jan Kjærstads´ Forføreren (1993) and Dag Solstads´ Armand V. Fotnoter til en uutgravd roman (2006), as examples of how postnational and cosmopolitan constellations influence both our individual lives and our collectively imagined communities. I focus on what I call click and dragnationalism, XL-nationalism, the one-man-nation and postnational war.

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Anne-Marie Mai

ABSTRACT

The paper discusses the need for a renewal of literary historiography and presents different strategies for new historical readings that can generate interest in older literature. Students at the Danish universities and high schools are supposed to have a solid knowledge of literary classics and the methods of historical reading. In a Danish context the school's task to form and develop young people have been linked to the experience of reading literature and knowing literary history. But the older literature seems to have become a compulsory reading which students want over with as quickly as possible. It is a big problem since the European postnational societies require a historical understanding of cultural values and the sources of these values. Literature gives the readers the opportunity to see and interpret themselves in relation to their surroundings, to meet the strange and unknown and to empathize with other people's thoughts and ideas. Literature creates a special feeling of language and an understanding of how linguistic meaning is formed. The paper presents discussions of literary historiography and new approaches to literary history.

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”Hvid Udenpå. Indeni er Jeg Helt... Grå”.1

HYBRIDE IDENTITETER i JAKOB EJERSBOS ”AFRIKA-TRILOGI”

Sylwia Izabela Schab

ABSTRACT

The aim of the article is to discuss the problem of hybrid identity, as it is presented in Jakob Ejersbo’s “Africa-trilogy” (2009). As the methodological framework for the analysis serve some of the main notions borrowed from postcolonial studies (as hybridity and contact zone), as well as Zygmunt Bauman’s diagnoses on “the liquid modernity” (among others his understanding of identity and his tourist and vagabond metaphors). The latter ones indicate the universal dimension of Ejersbo’s prose, which until now has been read mainly from the postcolonial critique’s position and as a polemical comment on the Scandinavian self-understanding as a region, which has never been included in the colonial project and which sets an example on providing humanitarian aid.

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Bolesław Mrozewicz

ABSTRACT

The article describes the presence of Finland in the consciousness of Poles (since 14th-16th century) as well as the presence of the Finnish literature on the Polish publishing market since 1860s until today. Finnish literature became broadly known in Europe only in 1835, when the first edition of the national epic Kalevala appeared and directed European intelligentsia’s attention to Finnish nation and its struggle for their own national identity. Selection of Finnish literary works (including those written in Swedish) which were translated in that times into Polish proves that the Polish publishers and translators were consciously looking for similarities between the situation of Poland and Finland which both were under the reign of tsarist Russia. The rich Finnish literature of the next decades fully shows the difficult process of becoming a Finn and finding one’s own identity under new political and social conditions.

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En Litterær Biografi og Narrative Identitetsbilleder

Dorrit Willumsens Roman Marie. Madame Tussauds LIV

Maria Krysztofiak

ABSTRACT

The article focuses on the narrative construction of identity in the biographical novel about the life of Madame Tussaud written by the Danish author Dorrit Willumsen. A specific biographical narration technique of Willumsen is the starting point for discussing two interweaving layers of biographical discourse: the historical literary biography and the internal biography (lifeline as a story). Willumsen`s open dialogue of images and words shapes the narration to cross the frame of the principal character`s historical time and places Willumsen`s novel in the European context of narrative literature on artistic images of identity.

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Drømmen om Å Bli en Annen.

(BY)VANDRINGENS BETYDNING I TOMAS ESPEDALS GÅ. ELLER KUNSTEN Å LEVE ET VILT OG POETISK LIV

Tunkiel Katarzyna

ABSTRACT

The paper gives an analysis of three functions of the protagonist’s wandering in the essayistic novel Gå. Eller kunsten å leve et vilt og poetisk liv (2006, Walk. Or the art of living a wild and poetic life) by the Norwegian author Tomas Espedal. The analysis is inspired by the interpretation of the novel by Finn Tveito (2010) and focuses primarily on wandering in urban space, in and around the cities of Bergen and Paris. The functions identified in the paper are: (city) wandering defined as a search of a metaphorical home, as acting realised on two different levels, and as a way to accept the protagonist's role as a writer. Apart from this, the paper is an attempt to portray the wanderer's identity as a postmodern man and an artist.

Open access

Martin Humpál

ABSTRACT

The author of this article attempts to show how the theme of lack of identity figures in Scandinavian literature of the recent decades, especially in postmodernism, and partially also later. The absence of identity was a considerably frequent theme in modernism. According to many modernists the lack of identity was characteristic of the people of the twentieth century, and modernists usually regarded this phenomenon as tragic. This changed in the 1960s. Some modernist writers of the 1960s began to view the absence of identity in a more conciliatory way: their works featured a greater acceptance for the idea of an individual with no core. This movement away from the tragic conception toward a greater acceptance forms an important line of development in later Scandinavian literature. The article discusses a few selected texts which illustrate this development. The examples include texts by Hans-Jørgen Nielsen, Dag Solstad, Peter Høeg and Erlend Loe.

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Johnny Kondrup

ABSTRACT

This article concerns the return of the literary biography in the humanistic fields, especially in Danish literary research, since 1980. During the New Criticism in the 1960s biography was regarded as a superfluous genre, and during the neoMarxism of the 1970s as a naive genre. But around 1980 it returned in the form of a number of new scholarly works especially in the fields of literature and history. This article points to two elements in the postmodern Zeitgeist which might have played a role in promoting the return of biography: first, the collapse of the grand systems of interpretation, and second a change in the ideal of scholarship in the direction of constructivism. Then the article investigates how ‘the new biography’ is distinguished from the old and outlines three points in particular: 1) a greater understanding of the significance of social structures; 2) an increased focus on contingency, incoherence and indeterminacy in a human life; and 3) a rising interest in the ‘ordinary’ human being. On a fourth point, postmodern biography has not come as far as one might expect. Although it could be more experimental and theoretically self-conscious, in fact it employs surprisingly traditional patterns of narrative, most of which are stamped by the Bildungsroman of the 19th century.

Open access

Den nya Kvinnan Behöver den nye Mannen.

KONSTRUKTION AV MANLIGA IDENTITETER I FRU MARIANNE AV VICTORIA BENEDICTSSON OCH DOTTER TILL EN DOTTER AV INGER ALFVÉN

Katarzyna Szymoniak

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to problematize and compare the construction of masculine identity in two Swedish novels, Fru Marianne (1887) by Victoria Benedictsson and Dotter till en dotter (1977) by Inger Alfvén. The analysis is focused on how the male characters in these novels are constructed in the light of masculinity studies. In order to do that two types of masculine identity are considered: the New Man and hegemonic man. In both novels a change of the masculine identity pattern from the hegemonic masculinity towards the identity of the New Man can be observed, even though this process is performed differently. In the construction of male protagonists both authors refer to the same materialistic and symbolic attributes, however, these attributes are valued differently and play a different role in construction of masculine identity. In construction of the masculine identity Benedictsson combines the attributes of the New Man with the positive features of the hegemonic man, whereas Alfvén rejects the hegemonic masculinity as oppressive and constructs the male protagonist as the New Man.

Open access

Joanna Cymbrykiewicz

ABSTRACT

The paper discusses the issue of the contemporary Danish biographical novel, its identity and condition on the example of Peer Hultberg’s work on Chopin’s childhood, Preludes. The author of the article argues that the novel diverts to a large extent from the traditionally formulated principles which govern the genre of a biographical novel. In order to demonstrate it, the author analyses the text using the following criteria as a sort of a litmus test of the work’s “biographical provenance”: chronologically structured plot, objectivity and the protagonist’s development. As expected, the Preludes does not meet any of the above expectations towards a biographical novel, which proves that the work can be recognized as a postmodernist literary biography. The structure consisting of fragments, narration in the form of stream-of-consciousness and lack of milestones in the protagonist’s life are the primary features of the new genre which is seen as inherent in postmodernist tendencies, in particular those formulated by Jean-Francois Lyotard and Zygmunt Bauman.