This thesis investigates the literary texts by Elgström in relation to the political, cultural and literary context of the years between 1910 and 1920.
Among her contemporaries Elgström was important, but today she is completely unknown. The literary criticism of her time is one of the reasons why her writings have been transferred to the periphery. When she made her début, Elgström was very positively received. After that, the literary critics were not capable of seeing the innovative aspects of her prose of that period and a discussion of incomprehensibility was initiated, in which words like hysterical, extatic and exalted became catchwords. It appears that Elgström created a form of expression that was not yet accepted in literature. The male dominated literary criticism was at a loss and Elgström was ignored.
The prose she wrote during the period in question has a distinctly experimental approach. In her literary texts, that are violating the standard conventions, Elgström appears as a female modernist and creates alternative images in the form of feminist and pacifist utopias. Expressionism is the modernist movement that can mainly be related to her prose of this period. Like the expressionists, she expresses a new sense of life which is permeated with religious conceptions.
In the study the female modernism is seen in a feminist perspective, as well as in a perspective of gender theory where networks constitute an important basis. Elgström often worked in female networks and thus she became an important figure in the context of female literature and female politics of that time.
By showing Elgström's kinship with the nation-wide early Swedish modernism, the Finno-Swedish modernism and the German expressionism, as well as by illustrating Elgström's position in the context of female literature and female politics of that time, the study contributes to a different image of the 1910s.
Stockholm: Stockholms universitet , 1998. , 293 p.