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Joanna Cymbrykiewicz

Open access

Joanna Cymbrykiewicz

Abstract

The article features the issue of identity building and disintegration as it appears in Stig Dalager’s biographical novel on Marie Curie, Det blå lys (The Blue Light) from 2012. It also discusses the problem of the narrator’s (and hence the author’s) presence in the text, which makes one dwell on the biography’s actual role in contemporary literary practice. The article’s stance is that biographies, including biographical novels, are typically produced with the contemporary reader and his expectations in mind. That is the reason why they focus on these issues in the protagonist’s life that may be of universal interest and not necessarily reflect the depicted person’s actual experience. As the novel communicates a postmodern view on human life, it is identity and problems with its establishment and disintegration that seem to be central for the work’s expression. In order to illustrate the process of identity building and deconstruction three key aspects in the protagonist’s life have been chosen for a closer inspection: the national, the feminine and the professional. The analysis shows that identity, as described in the novel, is a volatile and changeable phenomenon which is constantly transformed and redefined and thus can never be preserved and seen as a monolith. In order to discuss the above mentioned issues some ideas of Hayden White and Zygmunt Bauman have been used.

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.

Open access

Joanna Cymbrykiewicz

Abstract

The article A narrative portrait of Marie Grubbe in Lone Hørslev’s novel Dyrets år (The Year of the Beast) discusses the latest biographical novel on the controversial Danish aristocrat from the 17th century. In order to address the issue in closer detail, a brief biography of Marie Grubbe is given in the article’s introduction which is followed by a presentation of all the Danish works of fiction on the person that have been published so far. The analysis shows that the authors’ approach to their protagonist varies from disgust to fascination, depending on the period that the work originates from. Lone Hørslev’s Dyrets år may not be a genuine masterpiece, but it definitely adds new, contemporary aspects to the overall understanding of Marie Grubbe’s conduct and enriches her portrait with some traits which have not yet been discussed.