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Abstract

The production of loss organises nationalist thought through redistribution of emotions. In this chapter, the mechanisms at work in the production of loss are investigated by exploring the shifting emotions attached to Sweden’s loss of Finland to Russia in 1809, starting with Esaias Tegnér’s poem “Svea” (1811), and continuing with two literary works from the mid-nineteenth century, G.H. Mellin’s pamphlet Sweriges Sista Strid: Fantastiskt Nattstycke (Sweden’s Last Battle: Fantasmagoric Night Piece, 1840) and Fredrika Bremer’s sentimental novel Syskonlif (Brothers and Sisters, 1848). A coda highlights Selma Lagerlöf’s biography on Zacharias Topelius (1920), which recalls the grief over the loss of Finland as a lost sense of loss. How was territorial loss imagined? That is, what exactly was lost? What were the emotions associated with the loss of Finland? Emotions “stick”, in Sara Ahmed’s term, to different objects from virtues to people to landscape, and the order of what Barbara H. Rosenwein calls “emotional sequences” are reversed with different outcome for the production of loss. The novelistic treatment allowed for the elaboration of corporeal metaphors for nations; the interrelation between literary genre and bodies proves to be an important aspect in the perception of key concept of nationalist thought, such as national territory, national identity, and national feelings.

In: Nineteenth-Century Nationalisms and Emotions in the Baltic Sea Region
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A sense of loss is a driving force in most nationalist movements: territorial loss, the loss of traditions, language, national virtues or of a Golden Age. But which emotions charged the construction of loss and how did they change over time? To what objects and bodies did emotions stick? How was the production of loss gendered? Which figures of loss predated nationalist ideology and enabled loss within nationalist discourse? 13 scholars from different backgrounds answer these questions by exploring nationalist discourses during the long nineteenth century in the Baltic Sea region through political writings, lectures, novels, letters, paintings, and diaries.

Contributors are: Eve Annuk, Jenny Bergenmar, Anna Bohlin, Jens Grandell, Heidi Grönstrand, Maciej Janowski, Jules Kielmann, Tiina Kinnunen, Kristina Malmio, Peter Nørgaard Larsen, Martin Olin, Jens Eike Schnall, and Bjarne Thorup Thomsen.
In: Nineteenth-Century Nationalisms and Emotions in the Baltic Sea Region