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What is Hidden in Västerbotten’s Stomach?: On Augustine and Torgny Lindgren’s Minnen
2014 (English)In: Journal of Northern Studies, ISSN 1654-5915, Vol. 8, no 1, 91-142 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article investigates the complex intertextual dialogue between Torgny Lindgren’s Minnen (2010) and Augustine’s Confessions, from which Lindgren has taken the motto of his autobiography. By using the patristic intertext as a starting point, the investigation intends to show how Lindgren has constructed his image of Västerbotten. The article is divided into four parts. The first part (I), establishes the heuristic principles of the investigation, which adhere to the recent tendency in patristic studies to observe the heterogeneous character of Augustine’s world of thought. The second part of the article (II) charts parallels between text and intertext in their portrayal of grace, evil, and man. It emerges that those elements of Lindgren’s world view which are particularly closely related to Augustinian theology are also the ones that possess a particularly strong Västerbottnian character. This intertextual affinity can be explained not only with reference to the Lutheran tradition of Västerbotten, but also has to be related to the text’s specific structure of memoria, which is unravelled in the remaining parts (III– IV). On the basis of modern cultural anthropological theories of memory, the third part demonstrates that most of the differences between text and intertext can be linked to the cultural memory of modernity, and document the rise and fall of industrial subjectivity. Lindgren embeds his autobiographical version of Västerbotten into the basic structure of modern memory, transforms it into a quasi-subject, and taints it with the symptoms of decay that plague the industrial ‘I.’ In the same as Western modernity, Minnen draws the majority of its metaphors of dissolution from Augustine’s paradigmatic doctrine of sin. The fourth part of the article (IV) aims to analyse the autobiography’s mechanisms of substitution. It is argued that these attempt—in analogy to many Western critics of modernity—to counteract the crisis of industrial cultural memory by reviving the Augustinian forms of memoria and creating a synthesis of pre-industrial and industrial. Within the quasi-subject of Västerbotten and its wealth of agrarian objects, Lindgren finds adequate metaphorical models for use in his compensatory project of counter-memory. The article concludes by observing that, just as Minnen’s productive dialogue with Augustine allows it to recapitulate the history of Western memory, Lindgren’s Västerbotten is elevated to the status of a universal symbol of European consciousness and its fate.

Abstract [sv]

Uppsatsen undersöker den komplexa intertextuella dialogen mellan Torgny Lindgrens Minnen (2010) och Augustinus Confessiones, som Lindgren hämtat mottot till sin minnesbok ur. Med den patristiska intertexten som utgångspunkt granskas i synnerhet hur Lindgren konstruerat sin bild av Västerbotten. Uppsatsen är disponerad i fyra delar. I första delen (I) formuleras undersökningens hermeneutiska principer, som i enlighet med nyare tendenser inom patristikforskningen beaktar den augustinska tankevärldens heterogena karaktär. I uppsatsens andra del (II) kartläggs paralleller mellan textens och intertextens framställning av nåden, ondskan och människan. En särskilt stark koppling till Augustinus teologi har, som analysen visar, de komponenter i Lindgrens livssyn som i hans ögon bär en specifikt västerbottnisk prägel. Denna intertextuella affinitet kan förklaras inte enbart utifrån Västerbottens lutherska kulturtradition utan måste också relateras till minnesbokens speciella memoriastruktur, som närmare utreds i uppsatsens återstående delar (III–IV). Med stöd i moderna kulturantropologiska minnesteorier demonstreras i tredje delen (III) att de flesta skillnaderna mellan textens och intertextens minneskoncept låter sig knytas till modernitetens kulturminne, som dokumenterar det industriella subjektets uppgång och fall. Minnesbokens Västerbotten infogas av Lindgren i det moderna minnets grundstruktur, formas till ett kvasisubjekt och förses med det industriella jagets karakteristiska symptom på förfall. Majoriteten av upplösningsbilderna hämtar Minnen – liksom hela den västerländska moderniteten – från Augustinus paradigmatiska lära om synden. I uppsatsens fjärde del (IV) analyseras minnesbokens substitutmekanismer, som i analogi med stora delar av den västerländska modernititetskritiken försöker motverka det industriella kulturminnets kris genom att återuppliva de augustinska memoriaformerna och skapa en alternativ syntes av förindustriellt och industriellt. I kvasisubjektet Västerbotten och dess agrara rekvisita hittar Lindgren lämpliga bildmodeller för sitt kompensatoriska motminnesprojekt. Samtidigt som Minnen genom sin produktiva dialog med Augustinus rekapitulerar det västerländska minnets historia, upphöjs Lindgrens Västerbotten – det är uppsatsens konklusion – till en universell symbol för det europeiska medvetandet och dess öden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University & The Royal Skyttean Society , 2014. Vol. 8, no 1, 91-142 p.
Keyword [en]
Torgny Lindgren, Augustine, theory of memory, modernity, Västerbotten
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-106050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-106050DiVA: diva2:839710
Available from: 2015-07-03 Created: 2015-07-03 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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