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Ditt namn bland keruberna: En studie i Karin Boyes poetik och poesi
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to discuss the poetical writing and three basic themes in the poetry of Karin Boye (1900-1941). It deals with the five collections of poetry she wrote: Clouds (1922), Hidden Lands (1924), The Hearths, (1927), For the Tree's Sake (1935) and The Seven Deadly Sins and Other Posthumous Poems (1941, ed. Hjalmar Gullberg). The recurrent themes in the poetry are the woman/mother, the tree/vegetation and the angel/fire in connecetion with love. From a Jungian point of view the three themes discussed could be seen as part of a process of self- development and the individual's strife to fulfilment in a mysterium coniunctionis. Boye's poetry succeeds in expressing this process of self-realisation in a highly artistic and aesthetic manner. This final act of fulfilment is described within a Jungian methodology and the concept of the archetypes: the great mother, the god/self, the divine child and the androgynous/hermafroditic-archetype are of importance. The image of the woman/mother is polarised in at least two directions in Boye's poetical language. It is warm, caring and giving or described as a valkyrie and a woman warrior. The idea of an eternal constructive force in nature, for example in the symbol of the tree is often linked to this archetype to which the archetype of the god/self as well as the divine child can be connected.

Boye's critical writing culminates during the early thirties when she publishes the four essays "Day-Dreaming as a Worldview", "The Language Beyond the Logic", "About Literary Criticism" and "The Fear and the Life" in the avantgardistic magazine Spektrum, which she acted as an editor for. She also translated T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" into Swedish together with Erik Mesterton. The poem reflects ideas from J. Frazer and J. Weston together with freudian influences and had an impact of Boye's view of poetry as following a ritualistic concept and the poet's function as that of a prophet-priest in modern society.

Besides existential and moral issues in her poetry, the motif of love is frequently expressed in Boye's five collections. The concentration here is mainly on the suite of poems, the so-called "Uppsala-suite" - "Dedication" which she published 1927 in The Hearths, and on single poems from the modernistic collection For the Tree's Sake (1935). In the end of her life she returns to Christian mysticism and writes the cycle of dramatically narrative poems called "The Seven Deadly Sins" which questions the early Christian concepts of the virtues and trespasses of the sold.

On the borderline between traditionalism and modernism the poetry of Karin Boye expresses itself with a crystal clear clarity and an emotional depth that gives her a position in the poetical aristocracy of Sweden and Europe during the twentieth century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen , 2001. , 298 p.
Keyword [en]
Literature, Karin Boye, modernism, European modernist tradition, comparative method
Keyword [sv]
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95ISBN: 91-506-1469-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-95DiVA: diva2:173028
Public defence
2001-06-06, Universitetets lärosal XI, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2001-05-16 Created: 2001-05-16Bibliographically approved

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