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Aktningsvärda vänners råd: Sociala och ekonomiska förutsättningar för Ulrica Carolina Widströms författarskap
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2004 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, E-ISSN 2002-3871, Vol. 125, p. 5-51Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Anna-Maria Rimm, Aktningsvärda vänners råd. Sociala och ekonomiska förutsättningar för Ulrica Carolina Widströms författarskap. (The Counsel of Respectable Friends. Social and Economic Conditions of the Literary Work of Ulrica Carolina Widström.)

This paper studies the Swedish author Ulrica Carolina Widström’s (1764–1841) authorship from a sociological perspective, focusing on her social network and her shifting financial circumstances in particular. Network theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of social and cultural capital are used as analytical tools in the study.

Widström benefited from social contacts from an early age. She received an education, for instance — in spite of the fact that she did not come from a wealthy family — through her noble godmother Charlotta Fredrika Sparre (1719–1795). However, the social contact who seems to have been the most useful for Widström’s career as an author was Carl Christoffer Gjörwell (1731–1811). Not only did he publish her poems in his newspapers, he also helped to promote her works to his friends, as well as supplying Widström with literary assignments and contacts. Furthermore, Widström also mixed with some of the greatest Swedish authors of her time: Thorild, Kellgren, Lidner, Leopold, Franzén, and von Knorring. Widström’s literary acquaintances could be of use to her literary career in different ways. On the one hand, it is apparent that they could help her by reading and commenting her works, as well as distributing it and making her reputation as an author more widely known. On the other, we see that some parts of Widström’s poetry were written solely with a social purpose, so-called "social obligation".

The study also shows that it is likely that Widström used her writing as a way of earning money. Her translations of popular novels and the adaptation of the novel Victor for the stage serve as examples of this. Moreover, Widström’s poor financial situation was used as the main sales argument for her final collection of poems, Ulrika C. Widströms Samlade Witterhetsförsök. But it is nevertheless clear that an unsound economy restricted Widström’s career as an author. She was, for instance, forced to work as a governess during long periods of her life due to poor finances. The unfortunate case of the publication of Höstaftnarne at Widström’s own expense shows that the literary business could be an economically risky one for authors without sound economic resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2004. Vol. 125, p. 5-51
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-70724OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-70724DiVA, id: diva2:98635
Available from: 2005-04-27 Created: 2005-04-27 Last updated: 2017-11-21

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