Academic journal article Scandinavian Studies

Kristina Hermansson. Ett Rum for Sig: Subjektframztallning Vid 1900-Talets Slut: Ninni Holmqvist, Hanne Orstavik, Jon Fosse, Magnus Dahlstrom Och Kirsten Hammann

Academic journal article Scandinavian Studies

Kristina Hermansson. Ett Rum for Sig: Subjektframztallning Vid 1900-Talets Slut: Ninni Holmqvist, Hanne Orstavik, Jon Fosse, Magnus Dahlstrom Och Kirsten Hammann

Article excerpt

* Kristina Hermansson. Ett rum for sig: Subjektframztallning vid 1900-talets slut: Ninni Holmqvist, Hanne Orstavik, Jon Fosse, Magnus Dahlstrom och Kirsten Hammann. Goteborg, Stockholm: Makadam forlag, 2010. Pp. 287.

I am essentially myself? Or rather: "I" become, as a product of language? We live in a time characterized by a deep contradiction when it comes to our views on the topic called "subject" According to many scholars, a predominant transformation of the subject has taken place and the fluctuation between two distinct positions in literary and theoretical works is a fact: the humanistic idea of people as more or less autonomous individuals and the poststructuralist position which in a number of ways decentralizes and deconstructs the subjects.

This observation, expressed in many late novels and theories, is central for the study of Kristina Hermansson. In her doctoral thesis Ett rum for sig: Subjektframstallning vid 1900-talets slut: Ninni Holmqvist, Hanne Orstavik, Jon Fosse, Magnus Dahlstrom och Kirsten Hammann Hermansson scrutinizes the establishment of the subject and the various aspects of identity that occupied five Scandinavian novels from the 1990s. The literary works studied are; Ninni Holmqvist's Nagot av bestaende karaktar ("Something of Lasting Character" 1999) and Magnus Dahlstrom's Hem ("Home" 1996), Hanne Orstavik's Kjorlighet ("Love" I997), Jon Fosse's Bly og vatn ("Lead and Water" 1992), and Vera Winkelvir by Kirsten Hammann (1993).

The novels, two from Sweden, two from Norway and one from Denmark, are studied in relation to international theory on subject and identity, mainly to the ideas of such influential scholars as Judith Butler, Zygmunt Bauman, Anthony Giddens and Michel Foucault. Each novel gets a chapter of its own and is scrutinized in relation to one of the four major categories of importance, namely nomenclature, intimacy, spatiality, and corporeality.

In her analyses, Hermansson centers on the ways the novel's figures are depicted in relation to theoretical discussion of subject establishment. The use of pseudonyms and names in Ninni Holmqvist's Nagot av bestaende karaktar is examined in relation to Judith Butler's discussion of nomenclature and Anthony Giddens's comments on the establishment of the self. Here Hermansson traces the linkages between the functions of the names and the problems of identity raised in the novel and in contemporaneous theory. The relationship between identity and intimacy is discussed in the chapter on Hanne Orstavik's Kjorlighet and spatiality is examined in Jon Fosse's Bly og vatn in relation to Michel Foucaults heterotopia, "an achieved utopia" in order to show how the novel stages a male fantasy. …

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