Ensamheter och gemenskaper : Läsningar av det moderna genombrottets litteratur
Sammanfattning: In this essay I perform readings of five influential literary works of the Modern Breakthrough in Nordic literature: Et dukkehjem (1879) by Henrik Ibsen, Niels Lyhne (1880) by Jens Peter Jacobsen, Barndomsvänner (1886) by Karl August Tavaststjerna, Fru Marianne (1887) by Victoria Benedictsson, and Ensam (1903) by August Strindberg. My aim is to identify and analyze discourses of loneliness and community. A central theme, both in this literature and in the contemporary society, is the problematization of gender roles. I find that the literature questions the polarization of gender roles through its depiction of marital relationships. At the same time, alternative communities are often portrayed as more fallible than those of marriage and nuclear family, forming discourses where marriage and nuclear family are prioritized over alternative communities – with a possible exception of national community. This paradoxical existence of modernity highlights the complexity of societal development: societal change requires not only political reforms but also change within subjects. The paradoxicality can be viewed as a manifestation of inner struggles. Finally, I reflect upon the endeavor to obtain entity that I find in these literary works. As connections between nature, culture and kinship, as well as between the past, the present and the future are formulated, issues of power/powerlessness and responsibility are brought into question. I propose further studies on these themes in relation to the emergence of nationalism, racial biology and fascism in 19th and 20th centuries, in order to deepen the understanding of the structure and the conditions of nationalism, racial biology and fascism in this context.
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