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En svensk fransk roman. Främlingskap och svenskhet i Aurora Ljungstedts Jernringen
2017 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, E-ISSN 2002-3871, Vol. 138, p. 104-122Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sam Holmqvist, Gender Studies, School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University

A Swedish French Novel: Foreignness and Swedishness in Aurora Ljungstedt’s Jernringen (En svensk fransk roman. Främlingskap och svenskhet i Aurora Ljungstedts Jernringen)

This article discusses the construction of Swedish identity in Aurora Ljungstedt’s adventure novel Jernringen (“The Iron Ring”, 1871). Ljungstedt very seldom commented on her own work, but she has made two separate statements about Jernringen. On the occasion of its second publication, the anonymous “Author” criticized readers of having misinterpreted the novel’s morals. A few years later, Ljungstedt (now no longer anonymous) was more cautious, now claiming to be herself critical of the novel and explicitly calling it too “French” for Swedish minds. Ljungstedt was right in appointing Jernringen as her work most influenced by French novels. Paradoxically, it is the same work that most clearly points out what Ljungstedt considered to be Swedish. Main character Juanna is a common stereotype, a dark and ardent femme fatale. Throughout her life she is unable to live up to the expectations of being Swedish and particularly being a Swedish woman. Although Juanna strives to become a better person, those attempts seem doomed to failure. This is explicitly attributed to a mysterious family curse, but between the lines it is clearly credited to her black hair, brown eyes and passionate self. Juanna’s most striking feature is her ability to change her appearance, her ability to pass as whatever she chooses. In the same time, she is unable to pass as what she supposedly “is”: a Swedish woman. The reader of Jernringen continually seeks to understand the hidden truth of Juanna’s self, but eventually learns that the truth is that there is no truth. Juanna’s true self is absence of being Swedish, and absence of a true self. Thus, the novel creates a perception of Swedishness as authenticity and stability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet, 2017. Vol. 138, p. 104-122
Keywords [en]
racism in 19th-century fiction, critical whiteness studies, femme fatale, Aurora Ljungstedt
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-343970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-343970DiVA, id: diva2:1187307
Available from: 2018-03-02 Created: 2018-03-02 Last updated: 2018-03-11Bibliographically approved

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Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning
General Literature Studies

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