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En saga i Andersens anda?: Intertextualitet, binära oppositioner, orientalisering och mytifiering i Inger Edelfeldts ”Palatset som vände sig bort från havet”
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2015 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
A Fairy Tale in the Spirit of Andersen? : Intertextuality, Binary Oppositions, Orientalization and Mythification in Inger Edelfeldt’s ”The Palace That Turned Away From the Sea” (English)
Abstract [en]

This Bachelor’s thesis focuses on the intertextual relations between Inger Edelfeldt’s literary fairy tale ”Palatset som vände sig bort från havet”/”The Palace That Turned Away From the Sea” from Namnbrunnen/The Name Well (2008), and H.C. Andersen’s ”Den lille Havfrue”/”The Little Mermaid” (1837), hypertext and primary hypotext respectively. Using an overarching intertextual approach inspired by Lina Sjöberg (2006), additional theoretical perspectives are derived from a variety of sources, including Mircea Eliade (1959), Søren Baggesen (1967), Rosemary Ruether Radford (1983) and Jørgen Dines Johansen (1996), to compare Edelfeldt’s and Andersen’s literary fairy tales in several interrelated areas, such as the main themes (love and immortality); binary oppositions (land and sea, life and death, Christianity and paganism/polytheism), and spatial and temporal settings. The study shows that Edelfeldt’s story not only reverses the hierarchy between the main themes of Andersen’s tale, as love takes precedence over the search for an immortal soul; rather than dealing with the mermaid’s quest for a soul, Edelfeldt’s story focuses on the prince’s conflict between giving in to the desire to follow the sea nymph into the sea, and accepting his regal responsibilities for his family and kingdom. As this conflict is expressed in terms of the prince’s loss of soul and sanity, Edelfeldt also reduces Andersen’s metaphysical elements to metaphors of mental and emotional suffering.

The topographical hierarchy in ”Den lille Havfrue”, where the demonic sea is inferior to the cultured land and the divine sky and sun, is overthrown as well, as the sea nymph returns to the bottom of the sea rather than being transformed into a daughter of the air, thus replacing Andersen’s controversial Christian ending (where the mermaid with the grace of God is given a chance to create an immortal soul), with an implicit reference to the Greek myth of the abduction of Persephone, which is interpreted as an implicit ecofeminist theological criticism of orthodox Christian denigration of earth/nature/female/body/death in favor of sky/male/soul/immortality.

Regarding spatiality and temporality, Edelfeldt seems to somewhat relocate Andersen’s literary fairy tale from it’s implicit Catholic and Italian/Mediterranian environment to a polytheistic tribal landscape, which is interpreted as an example of an orientalizing and mythifying modification of ”Den lille Havfrue”. Interpreted in similar manner is the particular emphasis on the exotic dance in ”Palatset som vände sig bort från havet”, as well as the adding of motifs such as veil, evil eye and decapitated head served on a silver platter, considered here as openings towards secondary and fragmentary hypotexts relating to Salome, including Gustave Flauberts ”Herodias” (1877) and Oscar Wildes Salomé (1891).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 42 p.
Keyword [en]
Inger Edelfeldt, The Palace That Turned Away From the Sea, H.C. Andersen, The Little Mermaid, sea nymph, literary fairy tale, intertextuality, orientalization, mythification, Salome
Keyword [sv]
Inger Edelfeldt, Palatset som vände sig bort från havet, H.C. Andersen, Den lilla sjöjungfrun, havsnymf, konstsaga, intertextualitet, orientalisering, mytifiering, Salome
National Category
Languages and Literature General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-275070OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-275070DiVA: diva2:898651
Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-01-28 Last updated: 2016-02-10Bibliographically approved

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