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

Catarina Harjunen

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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, and1917. They all tell of encounters between humans (men) and spirits (females)that take place in nature, a place traditionally perceived as the home of thesespirits. The erotic character of the encounters is determined not only bydirect sexual interactions, but also within a frame of ambience, language, andacts. By using a combination of queer theory and posthumanist concepts, Ichallenge the ideas of normative sexual behaviour expressed in the material. Aqueer reading reveals transgressions within gender-normative behaviour and alsointeresting contradictions in which gender norms are abided by. Theinter-species relationship between human and spirit can be seen as queer, butat the same time, it is normative or pursues normativity. The posthumanistapproach results in the dissolution of the theoretical nature/culturedichotomy. The relationship between human and spirit can be viewed as that ofcompanion species; a relationship based on the desire to connect, as well as amutual past, present, and future.

Sidor (från-till)46–66
TidskriftLambda Nordica
StatusPublicerad - 2019
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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

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