Fantasiens morgonrodnad : En studie i Clas Livijns romaner
Sammanfattning: This doctoral thesis investigates four novels of the Swedish Romantic author Clas Livijn (1781–1844). Livijns’s self-reflective prose is dense with allusions to contemporary literary works and political events, delivered in a style that abounds with metaphors and allegories, and characterized by satire, parody, and irony. One aim of this dissertation is to investigate some of the important themes in these four novels and explore the intertextual techniques utilized by means of a semiotics-based approach. My intent in this respect is to identify the intertexts that are actualized and the manner in which they are used.A second aim of the study is to explore how the dialogical and allusive elements in Livijn’s work are linked to the practices of collaborative writing and the writer’s own constant rewriting of his works, both of which negate the notion of the solitary “Romantic genius” as an artist who serves as a vessel for the outpouring of the imagination. Livijn’s work is also marked by its fragmented state: several of his novels were never finished, and one of the four books analyzed was not published during his lifetime. Not only did Livijn typically rewrite his works repeatedly, several times he stopped the printing of a given book precisely in order to rewrite it. The manuscript versions of his novels give an insight into the genesis of the works and Livijn’s creative process, including his relentless efforts to increase the density of the allusions.The imagination, as one of the key concepts of Romanticism, plays a prominent role in Livijn’s novels. However, the ambiguous relations that his heroes have with the imagination are symptomatic of the duality imbedded in Livijn’s own relation to Romantic stereotypes. Although he makes use of them in his novels, he also undermines them with irony (at times Romantic irony) and satire.There has been little previous research on Livijn’s work, and that which exists is mainly focused on only one of his novels, The Queen of Spades (1824). Consequently, a third aim of this thesis is to reveal the diversity of Livijn’s work: although the four novels share a certain number of qualities, including metafictional elements and a high degree of self-reflectivity, they differ substantially in respect to their genres, styles, and narrative techniques. Within a broader context, the thesis contributes to the historiography of the novel as a genre in Swedish Romanticism.
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