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.
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.
(BY)VANDRINGENS BETYDNING I TOMAS ESPEDALS GÅ. ELLER KUNSTEN Å LEVE ET VILT OG POETISK LIV
The paper gives an analysis of three functions of the protagonist’s wandering in the essayistic novel Gå. Eller kunsten å leveet 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.
Dorrit Willumsens Roman Marie. Madame Tussauds LIV
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.
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.
HYBRIDE IDENTITETER i JAKOB EJERSBOS ”AFRIKA-TRILOGI”
Sylwia Izabela Schab
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.
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.
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.
The article discusses translation strategies used by the author when dealing with culture-specific references/concepts in the rendition in Polish of the Norwegian fantasy trilogy The Sign of theElves by Sigbjørn Mostue. The challenge here lay in that the novels feature a number of characters inspired by Norwegian folklore. Of the following translation strategies that in the author’s opinion are possible, but not as yet fully listed anywhere, i.e. 1) direct borrowing 2) literal translation 3) direct borrowing + footnote 4) literal translation + footnote 5) direct borrowing + descriptive explanation 6) literal translation + descriptive explanation 7) substitution with another reference from source culture 8) substitution with another reference from target culture 9) substitution with another reference from universal/global culture 10) substitution with translator’s own coinage 11) evasion by simplification 12) evasion by omission, strategies 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11 were used in the translation in question. In his choice of the (mostly functional) equivalents in the target language, the translator drew upon two main sources: Slavic demonology and role-playing games (RPGs).
OM SØGEN EFTER DEN LITTERÆRE IDENTITET I LISE ANDERSENS KORT-PROSASAMLING EN SÆRLIG SOMMER OG ANDRE BILLEDER (2008)
The article derives from the intertextual approach to the notion of literary identity, introduced to the modern literary theory in the 1960’s by Julia Kristeva (born 1941). The main idea behind this approach is that no literary text should be perceived as an isolated unity, but always in relation to other texts, which it refers to. The author applies the intertextual perspective to examine the signs of external literary influences in Lise Andersens minimalist prose collection ”En særlig sommer og andre billeder”, published in 2008. The analysis aims to highlight influences from the American short story genre, which appears as an important source of inspiration not only for Andersen herself, but in fact for most of the Danish writers of minimalist fiction. The analysis provides examples of, how inspiration from the American short story manifests itself in form, narration and structure of the selected stories in the collection. Last but not least, the author draws attention to the general importance of American influences in Danish contemporary short fiction and their role for the critical perception of this literary genre both in Denmark and abroad.