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Bluebells and cotton grass: The importance of flowers and plants in dystopian fiction
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch, and German.
2017 (English)In: Norlit 2017: nordic utopias and dystopias: Book of abstracts, 2017, 11-11 p.Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the dystopian tradition, wild nature on the other side of the city walls is a common topos. Wilderness outside or inside the urban milieu is often a place of rebellion and escape for the protagonists of dystopian novels. In my presenta-tion, I will examine in detail the depictions of these secret meadows, fields, and swamps outside or inside the dystopian cities and societies. I will discuss plant and flower motifs in dystopian novels Kys’ (2 0 0 3) by Tatyana Tolstaya, Staden utan kvinnor (2011) by Madeleine Hessérus, and Auringon ydin (2013, The Core of the Sun 2016) by Johanna Sinisalo. I will inter-pret plant motifs as allusions to fairy tales and other dystopias, but I will also examine the depictions of flora from a more botanical point of view. What does the reader get to know from the milieu by knowing the typical habitats of the vegetation depicted? To s t ay a’s Kys’ depicts the city of Moscow after a nuclear catastrophe. Notwithstanding the monstrosity of the surroundings, there are places of beau-ty in the city and outside of it. Symbols of this beauty are flowers, for example bluebells that the protagonist of the novel brings to his bride. In Staden utan kvinnor, the nonconformist Jakob Hall lives in the archipelago near Stockholm. The archipelago is a contrast to the city of Stockholm, which is divided into sepa-rate areas by a wall. In Sinisalo’s Auringon ydin, the rebellious and nonconform-ist group called Gaians plant chilli in their secret garden in the woods. Chilli is prohibited by the totalitarian state of Finland because it may be used as a means of a mental escape from the authority. In this novel, swamp is a significant mi-lieu. With its white cotton grasses and bog pools it is a place both of enchanting beauty and of death.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. 11-11 p.
Keyword [en]
dystopias, critical plant studies, human-plant studies, genre studies
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144636OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144636DiVA: diva2:1115761
Conference
Norlit 2017 - Nordic utopias and dystopias, Turku, Finland, June 8-10, 2017
Available from: 2017-06-27 Created: 2017-06-27 Last updated: 2017-08-10Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
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  • asciidoc
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