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Stilstudier i Carl Jonas Love Almqvists exilförfattarskap
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is a study on the works of the Swedish author Carl Jonas Love Almqvist during the final years of his exile in America. Focusing on the monumental 1438-page unpublished manuscript 'About Swedish Rhymes', the study first presents the textual material and then discusses the text from different formal and content-based aspects essential to an understanding of Almqvist's works in exile.

In the manuscripts preserved from his last years of exile, i.e. the period after 1860, Almqvist refers to 'Mr Hugo's Academy, established in the year 1838' introduced in one of the volumes of The Book of the Wild Rose (1839). In comparison with his earlier fiction about academic "cabinet meetings", this fiction of such an academy, conceived in exile, is in some ways extraordinary. A close reading of the texts reveals that the aging Almqvist, contrary to previous opinions about him, maintained strict control over the activity: the extension and division of the record, as well as its references to time and space, all indicate a complete consistency and an exact mimetic order.

The consideration of 'About Swedish Rhymes' starts out from exterior qualities. The observations are first considered in relation to the author's statements on the importance of the manuscript for the literary work of art. Subsequently, the genesis of the "exile" texts is re-examined. One key question here is whether the manuscript was completed in Philadelphia, or was continued in Bremen during the final year of his life.

The content of the conversations in the records of the cabinet meetings is also analyzed. Although questions of metre and versification dominate, the text also deals with a variety of widely differing subjects, including discussions about the use of language and linguistic norms. The fictitious frame that the cabinet meeting provides for the purpose of discussing metre and rhyme is also considered. Here we find various improvised verses composed at the cabinet meeting and put into the mouth of the authentic versifier H.J. Seseman. One important question is whether the cabinet-meeting discussions about the metre in these verses are intended to be a serious contribution to scholarly debate, or whether they in fact have ironic undertones. Next, the narration of the "exile" texts is discussed from the point of view provided by its own fictitious perspective, together with the author’s relation to irony, satire and parody.

The concluding chapter deals with verse-making in the record of rhyming. The emphasis is laid on the analysis and characterization of the various rhymed verses collected under the title Sesemana. One essential question concerns the 'rubbishy' or 'plain' character of these poems. The present analysis indicates that questions of rubbish, textual triviality and the like must bow to the broader question of the character of the poems in a deeper sense. Seseman's poetry is considered in relation to the Songes collection. Finally the question of how rhythm manifests itself as 'free verse' in a number of these poems with more serious content is also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2005. , 230 p.
Stockholm studies in Scandinavian philology, ISSN 0562-1097 ; N.S., 39
Keyword [en]
Swedish literature, Almqvist, stylistics, text interpretation, literacy, poetics, metre, rhythm, rhyme, philology, language-norm discussion
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-519ISBN: 91-22-02125-6OAI: diva2:194943
Public defence
2005-06-01, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-05-09 Created: 2005-05-09 Last updated: 2014-06-02Bibliographically approved

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