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En strid för det som borde vara: Viktor Rydberg som moderniseringskritiker 1891–1895
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2012 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with the critique of modernization in the late work of Viktor Rydberg (1828–1895). The primary objects of study are the novel Vapensmeden (”The Armourer”) and the essay ”Den hvita rasens framtid” (”The Future of the White Race”). The study combines perspectives from narrative, rhetorical and sociological theory and describes the fictive and non-fictive text as tools of resistance against the process of modernization.

Rydberg’s later work has often been left uncommented by critics and literary historians. The novel Vapensmeden, for example, has been considered nostalgic and conservative, in contrast to Rydberg’s earlier poems and novels, widely read as progressive and idealistic. This study questions that view, while at the same time explaining its roots, through a detailed study of the changes in Rydberg’s fame and persona during the first century after his death. In order to describe how Rydberg’s work reached a mass audience during the first half of the twentieth century, this dissertation also includes a bibliography for the years 1896–2003.

Rydberg’s ideological development in the 1880s and 1890s is interpreted as a consequence of his reluctance to accept a society created by the liberalism of his youth, which he felt had metamorphosed from an ideology of freedom to a defense of greed and destruction. This, however, does not mean that he had become a conservative, but rather a restless seeker of alternatives. In his last works, he made use of his reputation both as a poet and a novelist and as a well-read and respected academic. Every device, every possible effort was needed in order to control the forces of modernization. In fact, in Vapensmeden as well as in ”Den hvita rasens framtid”, Rydberg mixes fictional and academic writing, speaking from two positions at the same time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Möklinta: Gidlunds förlag, 2012. , 293 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Avdelningen för litteratursociologi vid Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen i Uppsala, ISSN 0349-1145 ; 62
Keyword [en]
Viktor Rydberg, Sweden, critique of modernization, industrialization, urbanization, nineteenth century, narratology, rhetoric
Keyword [sv]
Viktor Rydberg, moderniseringskritik, industrialisering, urbanisering, 1800-talet, narratologi, retorik, litteratursociologi
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172336ISBN: 978-91-7844-849-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-172336DiVA: diva2:514021
Public defence
2012-04-27, Universitetshuset, sal IV, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-04-05 Created: 2012-04-04 Last updated: 2012-07-17

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