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Att bli människa: Barn, sedlighet och kön i Amanda Kerfstedts, Helena Nybloms och Mathilda Mallings författarskap 1880-1910
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History of Literature and History of Ideas.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Becoming Human. Children, Morality and Gender in the Works of Amanda Kerfstedt, Helena Nyblom and Mathilda Malling 1880–1910 (English)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this doctoral thesis is to analyze discourses of children, morality and gender in prose works for children and adults written between 1880 and 1910. Ten texts by Amanda Kerfstedt, Helena Nyblom and Mathilda Malling are studied. The main questions are: To what extent did writing for children or adults create different possibilities and restraints for the authors? Were ideas of morality and sexuality articulated differently in relation to children, women and men? What gender ideals were formulated through depictions of children’s upbringing?

By foregrounding the role of children and children’s literature, a new perspective on the period is put forward. The analyses explore how changing ideas about family, femininity and virtue affected the way women wrote and how the literary establishment received their works. Some other important topics are the debate on children’s sex education in the 1880’s, the function of childhood in discourses of gender and sexuality, and the role of confession in 19th century society and literature.

Conceptions of children, gender and morality are continuously redefined in Kerfstedt’s, Nyblom’s and Malling’s texts for children and adults. Varying ideals, ideas and practices are compared in the texts, which creates a space for change and negotiation. In contrast to previous research, this thesis shows that Swedish children’s and adult literature around the turn of the 20th century shared many themes and ideas. Although different aspects of the questions are put in focus, books for both audiences explore how a true man, woman or child should be, what defined a moral life and, ultimately, what it meant to be human.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm & Göteborg: Makadam förlag , 2010. , 344 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Svenska barnboksinstitutet, ISSN 0347-5387 ; 108Skrifter utgivna av Svenska litteratursällskapet, ISSN 0348-0283 ; 49
Keyword [en]
gender, sexuality, childhood, crosswriting, literary history, Amanda Kerfstedt, Helena Nyblom, Mathilda Malling
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
History of Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42521ISBN: 978-91-7061-087-5OAI: diva2:349297
Public defence
2010-10-15, Auditorium 215, Humanistvillan, Frescativägen 24, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-09-23 Created: 2010-09-06 Last updated: 2010-09-07Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Maria
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Department of History of Literature and History of Ideas
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