Academic journal article Scandinavian Studies

Introduction

Academic journal article Scandinavian Studies

Introduction

Article excerpt

ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC CHANGES during the nearly one-hundred-year history of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study is the increased attention to the status of women and women writers. This evolution has followed broader societal trends that in the 1970s saw substantial growth in the number of conference papers, articles, scholarly books, and new critical editions about and by women. As feminist criticism has assimilated various and frequent theoretical waves since the 1970s, different issues have moved to the forefront. The purpose of this special issue of Scandinavian Studies is to present a snapshot of some of the predominant issues facing Scandinavianists today in the continuing effort to reevaluate the contributions of Nordic women writers.

The essays in this issue fall into three primary areas of inquiry: autobiographical writing, the concept of the "New Woman," and postmodernist literary experimentation. Since the mid-1980s, critical methods for studying autobiographical writing have made rapid strides. Previously considered a trivial genre, autobiography has witnessed the development of increasingly sophisticated critical constructs. Not surprisingly, the genre has held a special significance for women writers during periods in which they were excluded from the literary mainstream, and the perceived intimacy of the genre is one of its most prevalent and important rhetorical strategies. Kristin Orjasaeter's work on Camilla Collett, Sonia Wichmann's on Victoria Benedictsson, and Marina Allemano's on Agnes Henningsen all explicate important aspects of this rhetoric of intimacy and suggest the vital role that autobiography played as women writers attempted to construct non-biologically determined identities. …

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