Att föra det egna till torgs : berättande, stoff och samtid i Kerstin Strandbergs, Enel Melbergs och Eva Adolfssons debutromaner
Sammanfattning: The Swedish debate both on the role of literature and on the social position of women underwent rapid change during the thirty years from 1960 to 1990. In Bringing the Personal to Market: Narrative, Subject-Matter and Contemporary History in the First Novels of Kerstin Strandberg, Enel Melberg and Eva Adolfsson, the debut novels of three female authors’ are close-read from a thematic and narratological perspective. The theoretical point of departure for the dissertation is the emphasis found in postclassical, primarily feminist, narratology on the importance of context, as described by, among others, Robyn Warhol, Ruth E. Page, and Kathy Mezei. The dissertation’s purpose is to investigate whether the formal qualities of the novels and their thematic content can be conclusively linked to the debate on literature and women’s issues at the time of their publication. The novels have been selected on the basis on the following criteria: Each novel should have been published after the middle of the decade in question, it should have been written by an author who, prior to her debut, was publically committed to the contemporary debate on the situation of women, and it should have initiated a more extensive literary production. After the dissertation’s opening chapter where, among other things, the basis of feminist narratology is presented, three analytical, structurally similar chapters follow, each devoted to one of the selected novels and its respective decade of origin, and presented in the order in which the novels were published. The analyses are designed to take into account the differences among the novels, but they all take their point of departure in the importance to the narrative of the narrator and of focalization. With respect to context, it is mainly the reception in daily newspapers, but also in contemporary comprehensive surveys of literature, that forms the point of departure for a discussion of the relationship of each novel to the public debate of its time. In the final chapter, the three novels and the periods of time being investigated are discussed in a more comprehensive fashion. In summary, the study shows that a problematic inter-generational relationship between mother and daughter is a recurring theme, but that this theme is treated in very different ways in the three novels, and that these differences can be connected to the various historical contexts and to changes in the debate over women’s issues during the time periods in question. The same is true of the mode of presentation itself. Each of the three novels is, to a great extent, a product of its own historical period, and in this sense it bears the stamp of the public debate on literature of its own time. Using an expression of the time, each can be characterised as “women’s novels”, but they should above all be seen as contemporary novels that are typical of their age.
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