The present Ph.D. dissertation proceeds from poetry on the theme of the Virgin Mary which blossomed for several decades during the Romantic era and is dedicated to the use of its virgin and maternal themes in the work of C.J.L. Almqvist and P.D.A. Atterbom.
The first chapter discusses Almqvist's description of the perfect complementary unity of male and female - and divine and human - in his juvenile work Murnis (1819). In this sexually explicit work, theology and religious experience is eroticized while sexuality is sacralized. In Amorina (1822), a burgeoning transformation of Almqvist's "wholeness" vision can be observed. While wholeness can only be achieved through the perfect union of man and woman in Murnis, Amorina emerges as a perfect figure in and of herself.
In the second chapter, the figure of Tintomara in Drottningens juvelsmycke (1835) is analyzed. In this novel, the dream of the merging of "twoness" into "oneness" seems to have been abandoned in favour of an experiment, wherein the unity of masculinity and femininity is realized in one single individual, the androgynous Tintomara. Despite the fact that the novel's androgynous idea is formulated with direct reference to Plato's Symposium, the significance of Jakob Böhme's speculations on androgyny are also emphasized here.
The third chapter deals with the poetry about Mary written by Almqvist, especially Isidoros av Tadmor and Marjam (1839). Almqvist's image of Mary is characterized in terms of "perfection" and "complexity". In Marjam, this complexity is expressed both through the drama's upholding of the paradoxical content of the dogma of the Virgin Mary and the main theme of the double drama, the tension between the earthly and the eschatological family.
The fourth and fifth chapters of this dissertation are dedicated to the maternal theme in the work of P.D.A. Atterbom. I proceed from the hypothesis that the transformations which the figure of Mary undergoes reflect a tension between Romantic syncretism and classic Christianity. I analyze four texts by Atterbom in which this conflict is particularly apparent.
In Atterbom's prose draft for his fairy play Fågel blå (1818), as in his sonnets dedicated to Mary (1817-18), I discern a shift away from Romantic syncretism and toward more Biblical patterns. In the fairy play Lycksalighetens ö (1824-27), this tension emerges anew in the two Nyx epiphanies in the piece. The elegy "Ave Maria" (1831) comprises the clearest example of the shift in Atterbom's writing toward classical Mariology.
In the conclusion, Almqvist's and Atterbom's respective thematic use of Mary - where she is portrayed as a complex, transgressive figure - is contrasted with an early example of Swedish Biedermeier poetry, Carl von Zeipel's "Jesus Christus. Evangeliska romanser" (1822), where Mary is placed in the context of the little, idyllic family.
Skellefteå: Norma , 1998. , 304 p.
Swedish Romanticism, Mariology, androgynous, C.J.L. Almqvist, P.D.A. Atterbom, Carl von Zeipel, Jakob Böhme, Emanuel Swedenborg