Hur leva sitt liv? : Om livshållning och retorik i Claes Hylingers författarskap
Sammanfattning: The writings of Claes Hylinger are in many ways light and marked by a sense of well-being (the casual tone, the humour, the warmth). But the texts also have a streak of melancholy and a critical edge. Through his often simple, but also ambiguous, stories Hylinger approaches fundamental questions like: How can we cope with time, transience and loss? How can we develop our openness and attentiveness in a world where conventions and routine constantly threaten to blunt our feelings?The aim of this study is to examine how Hylinger creates his simultaneously entertaining and challenging texts. How does Hylinger communicate his problems to the reader? By presenting in-depth readings of some representative texts, I have tried both to do justice to the individual texts and, successively, to give a clear picture of the author's most important strategies.Especially important is the concept of genre, which I understand as a dynamic category, more as a vehicle for communication than a tool for classification. A genre perspective is tempting when dealing with Hylinger because he is well versed in many different genres and often quite intentionally plays with his reader's expectations of different genres. It is, for instance, clear that Hylinger likes to approach genres where experience and development are thematised: the autobiography, the Entwicklungsroman, the Bildungsroman, the travel book, the diary/the diary compilation. Yet Hylinger often stands quite free in relation to those genres. By using them in a playful or ironic way – for instance, by undermining the teleological structure of the Bildungsroman or in the diary extracts giving only seemingly trivial entries – he eludes our expectations, calling into question our ability to learn from experience. At the same time he also manages to present an attitude to life in which development of an openness to the everyday world, agility, sensualism and humour are seen to be at least as important as Bildung in the more usual sense of the word. Accordingly, a guiding principle in my dissertation is Hylinger's personal use of Bildung motifs and his often playful relation to genres where such motifs are prominent.In my thesis I also discuss the distinction between autobiographical writing and fiction. Using Philippe Lejeune's definition of autobiography it is possible to speak of two different strands in Hylinger's writings: on the one hand, the openly autobiographical texts, often consisting of short prose units that have been brought together; and on the other hand, the fictional texts, the more freely fabled novels. These different types of texts invite us to different kinds of reading, and this distinction partly forms the basis for the disposition of my thesis. However, it is also possible to question this distinction. The autobiographical texts may be more or less focused on the narrator, they may be more or less stylized, and the fictional texts may to a greater or lesser degree depend on the author's own experiences.
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