När man talar om trollen - berättelser om det okända

Translated title of the contribution: Talking about trolls

Blanka Henriksson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review


In the archives we can find material that in different ways give clues to human fears in older times. One example of this is the narratives of trolls from preindustrial Sweden and Finland. Studies of what was narrated can give a clearer picture of how people made the frightening unknown easier to handle by turning it into narratives of supernatural beings. Legends and memorates dealing with trolls behaving strange or threatening, e.g. kidnapping humans or animals, can be interpreted as a way of verbalising our fear of the unknown. Traces of these preindustrial trolls can be found in today's society in form of idioms (rich as a troll) or as frightening creatures in the fantasy genre. But mostly the formerly ambiguous trolls have been transformed into harmless entertainment for children. Though in the same way that trolls have been representing the unknown in the archive records, human fears can be traced in present time, and found in for example newspapers and social media. The unknown and abnormal is still perceived as frightening, and meetings with human representations of these characteristics give birth to narratives explaining and motivating our fears.

Translated title of the contributionTalking about trolls
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalRIG Kulturhistorisk Tidskrift
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


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