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Hemmet som pojkland: Relationellt subjektsblivande i Kerstin Thorvalls mellanåldersromaner
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2013 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap, ISSN 1104-0556, no 3-4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores novels from the 60’s and 70’s, targeted primarily towards children in the so-called intermediate age (age 9–12), by Swedish author Kerstin Thorvall. Thorvall was both a part of, and a forerunner to, the rejuvenation of children’s literature that took place in the 1960’s in Sweden – a time when books written for young boys and girls became known as ”youth literature”. This article argues that one of Thorvall’s contributions to this rejuvenation concerned her portrayal of boys and their relation to the mother, the family and the home. Boys have traditionally been depicted in outdoor environments associated with adventure: for instance, the woods, the water or in city neighbourhoods. Magnus Öhrn has classified such locations as ”boyhood territory”. Thorvall effectively re-situated this territory indoors – in the apartment or in the house. In Thorvall’s books, the boy’s subjectivity is shaped in relation to his mother and other intimate relations within the home. Whereas the individuation process for boys traditionally entails dissociation from the mother, in Thorvalls novels, the boy’s identity formation is relational, dependent and intertwined with relations within the home. Utilising the Bakhtinian chronotope as an analytical tool, the article explores how the plot constructs this identity formation both spatially and emotionally. Thorvall makes use of the home in a very concrete manner – through the boy’s movements between kitchen, hall and bedroom. The article argues that by placing boys in what has traditionally been regarded as “girlhood territory” Thorvall effectively revises the “boy book” genre. Instead of introducing girl characters into the adventures of the boy book, she exposes boy characters to the realism of traditionally “female” domestic settings.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Föreningen för utgivande av Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap , 2013. no 3-4
Keyword [en]
Kerstin Thorvall, children’s literature, relationality, subject formation, vulnerability, boy’s literature
Keyword [sv]
Kerstin Thorvall, barnlitteratur, mellanåldern, relationalitet, subjektsblivande, pojkbok
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84671OAI: diva2:687679
Available from: 2014-01-15 Created: 2014-01-15 Last updated: 2014-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Jönsson, Maria
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