Och nu börjar historien : Hjalmar Söderbergs novellkonst
Sammanfattning: Hjalmar Söderberg (1869–1941) published some seventy short stories in five collections, Historietter (1898), Främlingarna (1903), Det mörknar öfver vägen (1907), Den talangfulla draken (1913) and Resan till Rom (1929). The present study explores Söderberg’s short fiction from a genre-historical and genre-theoretical perspective. It investigates the characteristic traits of Söderberg’s short-story writing and whether it has anything in common with that of other contemporary Western writers. The first chapter explores the various roles of the narrator and how narration works in the “classic” short story (of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century). Typical for this is the occurrence of reliable narrators in for instance the travel story and the hunter’s-fire story. The external narrator does not take part in the narrative but appears as an “intermediary” between his narrative and their readers. Many of Söderberg’s short stories belong to this type. However, unreliable narrators who participate in the narrative can be found in several bizarre stories. Chapter two examines the short format and intensity of the short stories, as well as their endings, using Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s theory of “closure” and Helmut Bonheim’s narrative modes. Content and language affect the closure. All Söderberg’s short stories are highly intense and have endings that round off the story. The third chapter explores the short stories in relation to their collections. Composition, rhythm, type of collection, and what effect the title story has on the collection are discussed. All Söderberg’s short-story collections are “modern”. The modern collection consists of separate stories connected by “echoes” – situations, motifs, and themes. The final chapter explores the original paper publication of the short stories and how the stories were originally typeset and designed in newspapers and periodicals. Söderberg’s short-story writing can largely be described as classic. The stories’ types are closely related to the genres of the papers and periodicals in which they were originally published. There are many links between Söderberg’s short-story writing and that of his Western contemporaries.
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