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Från den västerbottniska frostmyren till den socialpolitiska hetluften: Astrid Väring: konservativ författare i Folkhemmets Sverige
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Languages.
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The dissertation takes as its starting-point the dichotomies between origin and modernity, periphery and centre. This is particularly the case in Astrid Väring’s novels Frosten (1926) and Vintermyren (1927), in which the author pays tribute to the homestead and the rural community in contrast to the industrial community, whilst her novels also express an ambivalent attitude towards modernity. Astrid Väring bases her works on a Norrland literary tradition, which often stood in opposition to the central power despite being dependent on it. In this respect, a similarity with postcolonialism is evident.

Access to a wealth of archive material, which has not previously been used in literary scholastic research, has resulted in a natural combination of a biographical method and socio-literary reading. When analysing the novels, the same external circumstances that had signifi cance for the author when the work was drafted, for example economic, social and political conditions, have therefore been taken into account.

With reference to the novel Katinka (1942), the view of popular literature during the 1940s is dealt with. The pejorative view, prevalent in those days, is compared with a contemporary understanding of it. Today, neither the canon nor popular literature stand out as particularly homogeneous categories. Katinka was written at the start of the Second World War. A comparison is made in the dissertation between Vilhelm Moberg’s Rid i natt! (Ride this Night) (1941) and Katinka in order to ascertain the novels’ attitude towards the offi cial Swedish position of neutrality. In Ride this Night rebellion against the enemy is encouraged, in Katinka a cautious, wait and see attitude is urged.

I som här inträden… (1944) is a novel with a purpose. In this novel Astrid Väring directs a harsh attack against the mental health care at Swedish mental hospitals. The dissertation contains a genre discussion concerning the various genres related to the novel with a purpose, for example roman à thèse. It can be concluded that theoretical work concerning the novel with a purpose is rare. But, when the issue pursued in the novel is no longer relevant, the novel with a purpose is often destined to be forgotten. Furthermore, Astrid Väring had the bad luck of falling in the shadow of Sara Lidman’s modernistic West-Bothnian accounts of the 1950s, which contributed to the fact that her entire works quickly fell into oblivion. This dissertation is the fi rst scholastic work on Astrid Väring’s works.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
The Frost, Norrland literary tradition, postcolonialism, popular literature, roman à thèse, mental health care
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-82ISBN: 91-7305-441-0OAI: diva2:144635
Public defence
Available from: 2003-09-20 Created: 2003-09-20Bibliographically approved

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