Konsten att upphöja det ringa : om Torgny Lindgrens litterära metod
Sammanfattning: The thesis examines how Torgny Lindgren carries out in literary praxis a particular vision of what serious art should be. This praxis is referred to as his "literary method". The study focuses on ten of his short stories, nine from the collection Merabs skönhet (1983, "Merab's Beauty") and one from I Brokiga Blads vatten (1999, "In Brokiga Blad's Water"). The reason for the choice is that these stories together could be interpreted as a programmatic presentation of the method; accordingly the stories are informed by a meta-aesthetical perspective. The vision is that serious art must suggest how people can find a spiritual dimension in their life in the flesh. In Lindgren's method this will make the miracle of Incarnation the all-pervading underlying image which displays a constant tension between the lowly carnal and the sublime spiritual aspects of human life. The method pictures this tension by a constant use of the rhetorical trope of catachresis, the compound of two incompatible images which normally produces a comical and sometimes absurd effect. But the method also suggests the possibility of reconciliation between the contrasts by elevating the lowly and insignificant up to the dimension of the spiritual. The means of achieving this are the representations of human life by way of the Word and Art, two recurring themes of the texts studied.The examination of Lindgren's method is achieved mainly by concrete text analyses. Each story is studied with regard to how the catachrestic mode realizes the given themes and the concluding message by way of surprising perspectives, by play with double meanings of words and through grotesque motifs, but also by linguistic means like the colouring of the discourse by dialectical forms and biblical quotations. Although constantly making use of humorous effects the method does not result in comical literature. The serious message seems to be that an existence without a relation to the spiritual dimension is empty and that the sense of a meaningful life is given by a particular attitude to it that could be described as "piety".
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