Den befriade sången : Stina Aronsons berättarkonst

Sammanfattning: Den befriade sången. Stina Aronsons berättarkonst Liberated song. Stina Aronson’s narrative art Abstract This thesis discusses the narrative art of the Swedish author Stina Aronson (1892-1956) with special emphasis on Hitom himlen (“This Side of Heaven”) from 1946. This work forms the subject of the first part, with formal aspects like narrator construction, composition and genre as the starting-point. These aspects, and the originality with which they are treated by Aronson, are put in relation to modernist æstheticism. In the next step the modernist approach is linked to a discussion of modernity. The basis of this thematic analysis consists of entities like language, time, faith and individuality, all of which play an important part in Aronson’s writing. The thematization of individual freedom versus determinism makes the work a counterpart to existentialism, the current philosophy of the time. What becomes especially apparent is a striking ambivalence towards modernity, but also towards a more traditional, almost pre-modern, attitude to life prevailing in the severe Læstadianist village community described. This interpretation deviates from the idea of pure civilization criticism and of the near idealization of the world described, which has dominated earlier analyses of the Aronson’s work. Gender issues, too, play an important part in the thesis, especially in the section analyzing the main characters and the attitudes they represent. The two central characters of the text are women and they are fundamentally different. The criticism of the village community and the destructive effects on the individual of the austere faith is most evident in the portrait of Mira, one of the women. She emerges as a more modern character than the others, driven by an urge to break free and make her own destiny, a project which, however, fails completely. There are several reasons for this, but the decisive factor is that as a woman she is more strictly bound by conventions and norms in the surrounding environment and interpretative community. Part II discusses the author’s other works published in book form. The textual forms and their possible relation to modernism are discussed to some extent, but above all the same issues concerning modernity and gender are tested as outlined in the first part. Ambivalence vis-à-vis the modern is also noticeable in the early works, albeit in a less sophisticated way. The problematization of gender roles is a marginal but essential element in these works, most evident in those produced around 1930 and gradually becoming more and more complex. What is striking is the recurrent existence of gender-transcending characters. Aronson’s characters are depicted over and over again as untypical of their sex, which altogether conveys the image of a world where there is something fundamentally wrong with expectations. In the collected works of Aronson these themes remained constant throughout the great variation in genre, form and contents ever since the début in 1921 to her last work in 1952: opposition against all forms of normalizing categories prescribing how people should believe, communicate, experience time and function as man or woman.