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Karen Blixen och maskulinitetens dekonstruktion: En läsning av ”The Old Chevalier”/”Den gamle vandrende Ridder”
2009 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, E-ISSN 2002-3871, Vol. 130, p. 102-138Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Claudia Lindén, Karen Blixen och maskulinitetens dekonstruktion: En läsning av ”The Old Chevalier”/ ”Den gamle vandrende Ridder”. (Karen Blixen’s deconstruction of masculinity: A reading of ”The Old Chevalier”/”Den gamle vandrende Ridder”.)

It took a while before Isak Dinesen was read as a feminist writer. Many found it difficult to find feminist heroines in her stories. It was not until the the mid 1980’s that Dinesen scholars started to read her “Witches” and “Goddesses” (Sara Stambaug 1988) as such examples. The first to connect Dinesen to a feminist tradition was Ellen Moers. In Literary Women (1976) she pointed out that Dinesen belonged to a tradition, growing out of Ann Radcliffe and Mary Shelley, that Moers called the “Female Gothic”. Isak Dinesen named her first book Seven Gothic Tales. “Gothic” also recurs in Last Tales. In spite of this Dinesen’s use of the 18th century Gothic mode has not played any central role in the Dinesen reception. Even though her texts are full of skeletons and ghosts it is not terror that is in focus, but rather the investigation in the fundamental instability of the human psyche. Modern researchers on the Gothic period, like Cyndy Hendershot, has also pointed out the disruption of stable notions of gender and sexual­ity peculiar to the genre, especially “the fragmentation of normative heterosexual masculinity”.

In this article, which is part of a larger project on Dinesen and the Gothic, I argue that, by once more connecting Dinesen to this disruptive Gothic tradition of transgressing gender we can also change our way of reading her. Where earlier feminist readings have looked for femi­nist representations in Dinesen, I suggest a change of focus, to how intertextual “genre trouble” also produce “gender trouble”. Such a shift of focus also allows us to see how Dinesen’s feminism works through criticism and irony. Through a reading of the story “The Old Chevalier” I show how Dinesen systematically deconstructs and questions normative heterosexual masculinity, thereby showing that masculinity is not only unstable and constructed, but one of our cultures main fictions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2009. Vol. 130, p. 102-138
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-128936OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-128936DiVA, id: diva2:332251
Available from: 2010-08-03 Created: 2010-08-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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