This articleexamines how the literary-history surveys on Swedish language literature inFinland have changed over time, from the earliest works dating back to the1860s until today. These surveys, focusing on Swedish-language literature inFinland as a separate subject, follow general trends in literary history-writing,i.e. they move from a nationalistic perspective influenced by Herder to a pluralisticand social constructivist view on literature. However, Swedish-languageliterature in Finland has its specific characteristics that are related to its historicalbackground as the leading national literature in the 19th centuryand its degradation to a minority position from the 20th centuryonwards. A common perspective in the literary histories is that the literaturein question is small, peripheral and limited. Yet, in the surveys from the turnof the millennium the influence from new theoretical discourses is noticeableas a productive force. Instead of continuing a literary-history tradition ofnegativity and claustrophobia, which was the case for several decades in the 20thcentury, literary historians took an interest in discussing minority questions,imagined communities and identity construction. They also turned from anational view towards ideas about the transnational. This new approach coincidedwith an anticipated novel boom and a general prosperity in Finland-Swedishliterature. Obviously, the recent theoretical trends have been productive inliterary-history writing but the situation also raises questions. For instance,which are the implications of “the transnational turn” for a linguistically andterritorially defined minority literature? Will the new contexts shared withother minorities result in marginalization or, on the other hand, will theinterest in the specific conditions for each minority last?
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|