Från nationellt uppvaknande till identitetskonstruktion. Litteraturhistorieskrivning om den svenska litteraturen i Finland

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Anna Möller-Sibelius
Publisher: Svenska Litteratursällskapet
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Samlaren
Volume number: 2018
Start page: 24
End page: 51
eISSN: 0348-6133


This article
examines how the literary-history surveys on Swedish language literature in
Finland have changed over time, from the earliest works dating back to the
1860s until today. These surveys, focusing on Swedish-language literature in
Finland as a separate subject, follow general trends in literary history-writing,
i.e. they move from a nationalistic perspective influenced by Herder to a pluralistic
and social constructivist view on literature. However, Swedish-language
literature in Finland has its specific characteristics that are related to its historical
background as the leading national literature in the 19th century
and its degradation to a minority position from the 20th century
onwards. A common perspective in the literary histories is that the literature
in question is small, peripheral and limited. Yet, in the surveys from the turn
of the millennium the influence from new theoretical discourses is noticeable
as a productive force. Instead of continuing a literary-history tradition of
negativity and claustrophobia, which was the case for several decades in the 20th
century, literary historians took an interest in discussing minority questions,
imagined communities and identity construction. They also turned from a
national view towards ideas about the transnational. This new approach coincided
with an anticipated novel boom and a general prosperity in Finland-Swedish
literature. Obviously, the recent theoretical trends have been productive in
literary-history writing but the situation also raises questions. For instance,
which are the implications of “the transnational turn” for a linguistically and
territorially defined minority literature? Will the new contexts shared with
other minorities result in marginalization or, on the other hand, will the
interest in the specific conditions for each minority last?


Last updated on 2020-25-05 at 03:05