Finland, den heliga tystnadens land. Om en frusen svensk gemenskap och en drömd skandinavisk union

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The images ofFinland in Swedish literature after 1809 have so far attracted very littleresearch. As a first attempt in this field, the article concentrates on the 1840’s,when the liberal opposition combines criticism of the lack of democracy inSweden with attacks on autocratic Russia. In the novel Kärlekens seger (Victorious Love, 1846) by J.A. Kiellman-Göranson (1811‒1869), Scandinavianism is added to theliberal program, as is the popular but false notion that most Finlanders wouldprefer a political reunion with Sweden. The result is complicated, to say theleast, but characteristic of the period.

Kärlekens seger can be described as a social-adventure novel or as asensation novel in the tradition of Eugène Sue. The romantic plot culminateswith the happy union of three Scandinavian couples, the sly intrigues of aRussian spy having finally been thwarted. The allegory nicely illustrates aScandinavian dream, where Finland appears to be included in the coveted union.The novel’s images of Finland nevertheless reveal a conspicuous lack ofknowledge of the country, depicted as beautiful but almost empty of people and completelylacking signs of the ongoing modernization. This is indeed a peculiar variantof Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities”. As a consequence of a psychologicalrefusal to accept the new borders of 1809, this “Swedish” community includes agroup‒the Finlanders‒who are an important part of the discursive process but atthe same time unaware of their own role in it.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)10–25
JournalKirjallisuudentutkimuksen Aikakauslehti Avain
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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