Queer Perspectives on Erotic Human-Supernatural Encounters in Finland-Swedish Folk Legends

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Catarina Harjunen
Place: Saltsjö-Boo
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Lambda Nordica
Journal acronym: LN
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 1
Start page: 46
End page: 66
eISSN: 2001-7286


Despite numerous studies with
various perspectives on the folk legend, the Nordic context is still lacking in
studies that combine concepts of queerness and post-humanism with folk legends.
This article focuses on Swedish folk legends in Finland that depict erotic
encounters between humans and nature spirits. The three example legends used
were collected in rural Swedish-speaking parts of Finland in 1890, 1898, and
1917. They all tell of encounters between humans (men) and spirits (females)
that take place in nature, a place traditionally perceived as the home of these
spirits. The erotic character of the encounters is determined not only by
direct sexual interactions, but also within a frame of ambience, language, and
acts. By using a combination of queer theory and posthumanist concepts, I
challenge the ideas of normative sexual behaviour expressed in the material. A
queer reading reveals transgressions within gender-normative behaviour and also
interesting contradictions in which gender norms are abided by. The
inter-species relationship between human and spirit can be seen as queer, but
at the same time, it is normative or pursues normativity. The posthumanist
approach results in the dissolution of the theoretical nature/culture
dichotomy. The relationship between human and spirit can be viewed as that of
companion species; a relationship based on the desire to connect, as well as a
mutual past, present, and future.


Finland-Swedish, Folk legends, Folklore, Folksägner, folktro - historia - Svenskfinland, Posthumanism, Queer theory, Svenskfinland, övernaturliga väsen


Last updated on 2020-24-09 at 05:54