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"Att skapa en ny värld": Samhällsyn, kvinnosyn och djuppsykologi hos Karin Boye
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Swedish author Karin Boye (1900-1941) has mainly been regarded as preoccupied with private problems and eternal, existential questions. Her writings as well as her life have been interpreted in terms of this preconception. Her best known novel, Kallocain (1940), a chilling story about a future totalitarian society with obvious similarities to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, has accordingly been considered somewhat non-representative.

This preconception, however, does not do justice to Karin Boye's rich and complex personality, nor to her wide and dynamic range of interest, nor to the profundity and diversity of her works. She often addressed social issues in magazines and newspaper articles, and she was an active member of the Swedish branch of Clarté, a politically and culturally radical student federation. Innate disposition and social standing of women were important themes in Karin Boye's writings.

The objective in this thesis is not to refute and marginalize this conventional view of Karin Boye's works, but to supplement and enrich it, an objective true to the spirit of Karin Boye's life and thoughts. She accepted nodichotomy between the exploration of individual existence and the analysis of social factors; she believed, as did radicals in general, that a new society and a new human being had to develop together.

Another theme relating to intra-individual phenomena which is also dealt with in my thesis is Karin Boye's relationship to depth psychology. Freud's ideas and depth psychology in general occupied a prominent ideological position within Clarté. The effect of depth psychology as well as psychoanalytical therapy were important for Karin Boye's personal development and for her writings. While this theme has already received some scholarly attention, it has not previously been explored comprehensively.

"To create a new world" - those were the last words in Kallocain, apart from a postscript. Karin Boye's political activity, her devotion to the cause of women, her interest in psychoanalysis as a basis for growth, and her literary works inspired from these sources - all of these added to her hope for renewal, for a new world with new human beings, a hope clearly expressed in her great last novel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1999. , 315 p.
Keyword [en]
Literature, Karin Boye, utopia, Swedish and European literature in the 1920s and 1930s, Clarté, femininity, depth psychology, civilization critic, analyses of ideas
Keyword [sv]
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-721ISBN: 91-7203-866-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-721DiVA: diva2:169093
Public defence
1999-10-30, Vasasalen, Uppsala slott, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 1999-10-09 Created: 1999-10-09Bibliographically approved

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