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Poesins vanitas
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Literature and History of Ideas, History of Literature.
2015 (Swedish)In: Norsk litteraturvitenskapelig tidsskrift, ISSN 0809-2044, E-ISSN 1504-288X, Vol. 18, no 2, 98-106 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article «Poesins vanitas» («Poetic vanitas») presents five lyrical examples of the vanitas theme in Western literature, spread out over as many centuries (from the 15th to the 20th). The Spaniard Jorge Manrique’s (1440–79) «Couplets on the Death of His Father» expresses an involvement with the problem of time typical of much Spanish poetry, based on the medieval topic of ubi sunt. In the sonnet «All Is Vanity» by the Schlesian poet Andreas Gryphius (1616 –64), the same Biblical theme is played off against the Baroque fascination with material culture and instantaneous experience. The Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg (1828 –95), for his part, represents nineteenth century idealism, confronting a new sense of existential emptiness and meaninglessness (provoked by recent scientific and technological advances) through recourse to memory and dreaming. By contrast, the poem «Troubled Dreams» by Finno-Swedish Edith Södergran (1892–1923) shatters standard Romantic illusions in its early modernist version of the vanitas trauma. Finally, the German-speaking poet Paul Celan (1920–70), born in (present-day) Romania, gives voice to a post-war experience of utter desolation, perchance, however, relieved by the presence of the beloved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2015. Vol. 18, no 2, 98-106 p.
Keyword [en]
Vanitas, the vanity topic, Jorge Manrique, Andreas Gryphius, Viktor Rydberg, Edith Södergran, Paul Celan
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119585OAI: diva2:846725
Et symposium om lyrikk til minne om Asbjørn Aarseth (1935–2009) og Atle Kittang (1941–2013), Oslo, 12. nov. 2014 10:00 - 15:30, Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi.
Available from: 2015-08-18 Created: 2015-08-18 Last updated: 2015-11-06Bibliographically approved

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