Ingen vanlig människa: Skogsråets erotiska möten med människan i folklig tradition

Catarina Harjunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article explores the erotic encounters which men have with the skogsrå, a female forest spirit, in Finland-Swedish folk legends. The aim is to examine the interspecies relationship between human and spirit, and what it tells us about sexuality and discourses of nature and culture. I approach these issues from the vantage point of posthumanist and queer theories, and with the idea of the forest spirit as a cyborg in Haraway’s sense of the word: a perfect hybrid of human and animal, fact and fiction, fear and desire. As such, it represents the incongruity of society’s norms on gender and sexuality. The material is exemplified under three different headings: man’s fear of the forest maiden, body and agency of the forest maiden, and the forest as an arena for these encounters. My suggested reading of these legends is as an expression of a desire for a life or love which at the time the traditions were recorded (the late 19th and early 20th centuries) was impossible.
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
JournalSvenska landsmål och svenskt folkliv
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Cite this