As a genre, the collective novel is highly elusive. This has lead to the widespread acceptance of a reduced definition: the collective novel is a novel about a more or less solid group of individuals, situated at a specific place, and staged in a specific time.
This is shown to be a definition too narrow for the understanding of the collectivity of Ivar Lo-Johansson’s novel Traktorn. Lo-Johansson put a lot of effort in trying to create a collective novel. For him, the collective novel was something more than an easily applicable formula. It is this surplus that the reduced definition has been cleared of, and thus it has been made inoperative.
My examination of Traktorn targets on this surplus. Rather than reading the novel as an example of the collective novel, I use my discussion of the genre as an entry-point to widen the understanding of Traktorn. Thus, my reading aims not only at opening up the specific novel, but also to provide a deeper understanding of the collective novel as a genre.
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2011. Vol. 132, 144-187 p.