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Vittra fruntimmer. Författarroll och retorik hos frihetstidens kvinnliga författare
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with Swedish women writers during the so called Age of Libert y (1720 -1772 ).A total of 141 female authors of printed texts are presented,the majorit y unmentioned in earlier research.The study is focused on t wo forms of literature :occasional poetr y (poems that were written for special occasions such as weddings and f unerals)and political texts (general political texts as well as texts discussing women 's issues).A number of authors are discussed more thoroughly,for example the occasional poets Charlotta Frölich,Hedvig Paqvalin and Charlotta Löfgren,and a group of political authors,such as Sweden 's first female journalist,Anna Margareta von Bragner and t wo female members of the Gyllenborg family,that was part of the Swedish elite. Two chapters are devoted to Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht,one of Sweden 's most successf ul authors during the Age of Libert y.

The dissertation is based on gender theor y.A double approach is used:a sociological perspective is combined with rhetorical analysis.The sociological perspective reveals that women writers of ten played an active role in the public sphere,but they also met with great dif ficulties.Apart from legal and political restrictions,women were denied higher education.One important factor which favoured women writers 'activities was the old ideal of the noblewoman,still present in Sweden in the Age of Libert y,whereby women from the upper classes should be active in a variet y of ways,including participating in representative contexts.The social position of the writers is of utmost importance to explain why women writers could act the way they did.One major result in the investigation is that female political authors as well as occasional poets acted on behalf of their households and net works.The term "social obligation "is introduced for literature that was written mainly out of social purpose.Using a distinction bet ween power and authorit y one also can point out that although women writers had no formal or legal authorit y during this period,they could gain social authorit y and they did have power.

The rhetorical analyses of texts show that women writers were skilled in the art of rhetoric and also reveals that there are no significant dif ferences bet ween texts written by female authors if one compare with texts written by male authors.One explanation to this is the paradoxical nature of classical rhetoric :it had its roots in public life,to which women were denied access,nevertheless it was possible to learn rhetorical methods and techniques without higher education,for example by imitation.

Few women writers challenge existing gender-ideals in their texts.But on the other hand,only a handf ul of the texts written by female authors show signs of humilit y,and in these rare examples it is brought on by genre or social inferiorit y.Women writers did not apologize for their literar y activit y.And just by going public,they crossed the narrow boundaries that (on a symbolic and normative level)were commonly set for women.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gidlund , 2001. , 420 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Avdelningen för litteratursociologi vid Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen i Uppsala, ISSN 0349-1145 ; 45
Keyword [en]
Literature, gender history, sociology of literature, rhetoric, Swedish eighteenth-century literature, occasional poetry, political literature, women's issues, Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht
Keyword [sv]
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-733ISBN: 91-7844-330-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-733DiVA: diva2:169278
Public defence
2001-05-19, Vasasalen, Uppsala slott, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2001-04-28 Created: 2001-04-28 Last updated: 2009-03-19Bibliographically approved

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