Les Figures féminines de la Décadence et leurs implications esthétiques dans quelques romans français et suédois
Sammanfattning: “The female figures of the Decadence and their aesthetic significance in some French and Swedish novels” This thesis compares Swedish and French literary prose fiction written between 1884 and1892 and its approach to Decadent themes, with focus on the female portraits and their aesthetic impact. Eight texts are analyzed in order to explore how the Swedish fin de siècle literature – partly interpreted as belonging to the political literary program of the ”Modern Breakthrough” – relates to the French literature and the Decadence. As the literary Decadence is concerned about the gender roles, the focus on the female characters is profitable and original; most main characters in Decadent literature are male, which has also influenced earlier research on this period’s literature. The study is divided into three major parts: 1) pictures of the independent woman; 2) gender roles and sexuality; 3) female characters and decadent ontology. In the first part, the analyses focus on features and behavior – as well as “la femme fatale” and the women’s look upon themselves. In the second part, themes such as androgyny, sexuality and eroticism are examined. In the third part, the study explores how the female figures relate to the ideas of degeneration and the feelings of loss: secularization, artifice and (non-)health. The more the analyses are developed, the clearer it becomes that the Swedish texts are influenced by the same decadent themes and ideas as the French texts. Nevertheless, a difference is that the French literature’s female characters more often are depicted with exaggerated traits than the Swedish characters, a difference that the thesis points out as connected to the Modern Breakthrough and its political program.
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