Emancipationens gränser : Emilie Flygare-Carléns 1840-talsromaner och kvinnans ställning

Sammanfattning: Emilie Flygare-Carlén (1807—92) was one of the most widely read novelists in Sweden throughout the nineteenth century. This study construes her works as participating in an emancipatory dialogue. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the way in which Emilie Flygare-Carlén treats, discusses, and problematizes gender relations in her novels. The study has been restricted to Emilie Flygare-Carlén’s 1840s, and concentrates on a number of focal themes in her writing: romantic love, society, identity, and marriage.The first chapter of this book deals with the romantic notion of love, and investigates why two of three heroines in Kyrkoinvigningen i Hammarby (The Consecration of the Church of Hammarby, 1840-41) are destroyed by their love of the novel’s romantic hero. The main interest of the second chapter of the study is the various ways in which a female writer could shed light on broader social issues, when at the same time there existed a resistance against female participation in the discussion of society. In Flygare-Carlén’s breakthrough novel Rosen på Tistelön (The Rose of Tistelön, 1842) it is shown how an author can move past this by using the novel’s full potential to mold and test her society through the use of aesthetics and genre. The analysis also demonstrate the way in which specifically coded female spheres and topics, such as the household and motherhood, are being used in Flygare-Carlén’s novel in order to discuss societal issues of the time, including the vulnerable position of women in nineteenth century society.The topic of this study’s third chapter is the possibilities of the female subject. In the novel En natt vid Bullar-sjön (One Night by the Bullar-sjö Lake, 1847), the two leading female characters are examined in their attempts at building independent identities in a time when predominantly men were allowed to become individuals. The last chapter of this book discusses marriage as an institution, and demonstrate how the legal rights of marriage are criticized and problematized in the novels Ett år (Twelve Months of Matrimony, 1846), En nyckfull qvinna (The Whimsical Woman, 1848-49), and Ett rykte (A Rumour, 1850). In the chapter’s latter half, the melodramatic and intrigue-saturated style that typifies Flygare-Carlén’s novels towards the end of 1840s is also discussed. Diverging from those who regard this mode solely as a means of creating suspense, breathing with commercial undertones, I analyze this kind of aesthetics as a bearer of both meaning and ideology. The thesis ends in a discussion of how Flygare-Carlén’s novels move along the borders of emancipation of her time in an examining and exploratory manner. Her novels map limitations, such as the superior position of men, but also possible openings, including equal marriages and improved female influence on society.

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