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”An age that is slipping out and an age that is hastening in”: Värdet av skönlitterär sociologisk analys i Gustaf Hellströms Snörmakare Lekholm får en idé och Ellen Glasgows In This Our Life
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies (from 2013). (Kulturvetenskapliga forskargruppen (KuFo))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9395-8570
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies (from 2013). (Kulturvetenskapliga forskargruppen (KuFo))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1091-2703
2023 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, E-ISSN 2002-3871, Vol. 144, p. 207-235Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

“An age that is slipping out and an age that is hastening in”: The value of literary sociological analysis in Lacemaker Lekholm Has an Idea by Gustaf Hellström and In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow (“An age that is slipping out and an age that is hastening in”. Värdet av skönlitterär sociologisk analys i Gustaf Hellströms Snörmakare Lekholm får en idé och Ellen Glasgows In This Our Life) 

This article presents a comparative study of two texts that are examples of largely forgotten works in terms of literary value and valuation: Snörmakare Lekholm får en idé [Lacemaker Lekholm Has an Idea] (1927) by Swedish writer Gustaf Hellström (1882–1953) and In This Our Life (1941) by American writer Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945). These two authors are radically different in many ways, for instance in terms of geographical outlook and positioning. Hellström was working as a foreign correspondent for many years, stationed in different parts of the world, and had an external, distanced view on Swedish society. Glasgow remained based in the American South throughout her career, and focused primarily on that setting in her novels even when she did travel. There are also significant similarities, not least in terms of the valuation of their work during and after their lifetimes. Hellström received De Nios Stora Pris in 1937, and Glasgow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1942, but both have been more or less forgotten later on. Both novels also offer a similar type of sociological analysis in the form of fiction tracing ideas, historical developments, and changing societies. The main literary function of the characters is to constitute various types, which enables a discussion of the ideas that they represent. The main function of families and generations is to represent historical changes. This type of novel of ideas fell out of fashion, which probably explains the devaluation in these two cases. Our comparative reading, based on Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s concept “contingencies of value”, allows us to investigate how this particular kind of sociological analysis in novels relates to literary history, literary value, and literary valuation. When these two novels can no longer fulfill their performative potential, they become more or less forgotten.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet, 2023. Vol. 144, p. 207-235
Keywords [en]
Literary value and the contingencies of value, Literary sociological analysis, Forgotten authorships, Gustaf Hellström, Ellen Glasgow
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Comparative Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97626OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-97626DiVA, id: diva2:1819042
Available from: 2023-12-13 Created: 2023-12-13 Last updated: 2024-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Forssberg, AnnaLinzie, Anna

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