Äventyrets tid : den sociala äventyrsromanen i Sverige 1841-1859

Sammanfattning: The subject of this thesis is the social-adventure novel which was popular in the 1840s and early 1850s in Sweden. In contrast to literary critics who have tended to regard the thrilling plot of the genre as merely a way of creating effects, I try to analyze the plot as a bearer of both meaning and ideology. Inspired by the Russian scholar Mikhail Bakhtin, I define the plot in the genre as an adventure-plot, with links back to the novel of Antiquity.In an introductory chapter I discuss theories of genres which resembles the social- adventure novel. I conclude the chapter with a brief discussion of the differences between the adventure novel and the biographical novel. In chapter 2 I look into the reception of the social-adventure novel by contemporary critics.In the first case-study, I examine Samvetet eller Stockholms mysterier, 1850, (The Conscience or the Mysteries of Stockholm), by C. F. Ridderstad. By means of the ad­venture-plot we are introduced to everyday life in Stockholm in the middle of the cen­tury. But the adventure-plot also had other possibilities. It could be used to examine the various competitive moral and ideological views that were current at the time. In the second case-study, I analyze a variant of the social-adventure novel which deals with the development of the individual.The need to examine ideology and its values is essential in the historical-adventu­re novel. This case-study contains readings of novels by Ridderstad, J. A. Kiellman- Göranson and C. J. L. Almqvist. The function of the plot in the historical-adventure novel is to test the "natural" qualities of the heroes; to examine the ideology of the vil­lain; and finally to claim that history in the end depends upon the (im) moral actions of the individual. This is created through the mixture in the novels of historical time and adventure-time.The thesis ends with an analysis of a novel by Viktor Rydberg, Den siste athenaren, 1859, (The Last Athenian). In this novel there is also an adventure plot, but no ad- venture-time. The reason for this is that Rydberg only uses the adventure plot for his own monologic view of history and the destiny of mankind. Rydberg's novel marks an ending. It stands as the final expression of that period which began in the 1830s, in which the novel emerged as a leading genre in Swedish literature.