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Rymden och tvåkronan: Karin Boyes För lite och den författarsociala debatten
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature, Sociology of Literature.
2009 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, E-ISSN 2002-3871, Vol. 130, p. 139-184Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Johan Svedjedal, Rymden och tvåkronan. Karin Boyes För lite och den författarsociala debatten. (Space and the Two-Crown Coin: Karin Boye’s För lite and the debate on authors’ social circum­stances.)

Karin Boye’s (1900–1941) novel För lite (1936) [Too Little] depicts a writer who has failed his early promise as a literary author. To provide for his wife and two sons, he has relegated himself to a producer of popular fiction. The article begins with an examination of how Boye uses plot, symbols, psychology and references to the contemporary literary field to discuss the social and intellectual roles of different kinds of artists.

The novel has often been read as a veiled piece of literary autobiography, and the article moves on to an examination of Boye’s own literary career. Although Boye had temporary dif­ficulties in supporting herself solely by writing, there are many differences between her and the protagonist in För lite. Boye graduated as a school-teacher in the 1920s, but after a brief period of teaching she soon became a professional writer. In the early 1930s, Boye was forced to occasional reviewing and even writing of popular stories, but her main output was literary fiction, which made her an esteemed author, published by the prestigious Bonnier’s publishing house and a member of the distinguished literary academy Samfundet De Nio [Academy of the Nine]. She supplemented the remuneration for her own books with translation fees, but an important part of her income came from literary awards and grants (a general feature for liter­ary authors of her days). As exactly as possible, her literary incomes from various sources are calculated, grants roughly equivalating the remunerations from her books, grants and remu­nerations both each giving her double the income from her translations.

The possibility of receiving such grants is conspicuously absent in the literary world of För lite. In fact, the novel may be read as an attempt of promulgating the necessity of such grants. During the 1930s, Karin Boye took an active part in the campaign launched by Sveriges Förfat­tareförening [The Swedish Association of Authors] for giving authors compensation for the use of their books in public libraries. The gloomy representation of the writer’s conditions in För lite is perfectly consistent with arguments in this campaign.

The article concludes with information on Karin Boye’s work in Sveriges Författarefören­ing and Samfundet De Nio (the later with the main objective of dispensing literary grants and awards), and on her posthumous success as an author. The vast differences between her own literary career and that of the protagonist in För lite is stressed, maintaining that the novel is neither realistic nor mainly psychological, but an attempt to stir up debate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2009. Vol. 130, p. 139-184
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120165OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-120165DiVA, id: diva2:302731
Projects
FIFFIAvailable from: 2010-08-10 Created: 2010-03-09 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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