The subject of
Images of America in Scandinavia, the first comprehensive study of its kind, is as multifaceted, complex, and overwhelming as America or the United States, itself. It concerns the nature and function, reality and fiction of such images in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden past and present. The book is intended to be a source of solid information as well as a starting point for further inquiries into its cultural territory.
Part of its focus is on images of America rooted in printed sources, but, in addition, general surveys of other cultural signs of America in the Scandinavian countries present a broader picture and provide some of the background for the predominantly literary images. Issues such as government and politics, popular and vanguard music and art, and socio-cultural institutions intermittently come to the fore.
Framing the volume's three pairs of national surveys is an introductory chapter, which addresses the entire subject from a bird's-eye view, and a concluding chapter, which, by contrast, delves into the cross-fire of sentiments defining people whose images of America, are both American and Scandinavian. The discussion of America as perceived in Scandinavia sheds new light on intriguing inter-Scandinavian cultural distinctions and borderlines.
Countless books and articles, methods and theories, have been devoted to the study of national and cultural identity. Still, the exchanges between such identities and the images they engender - so indispensable for the participants in a global culture - remain clouded by many misconceptions.
Images of America in Scandinavia whose editors and authors all have Scandinavian backgrounds, will contribute an improved understanding of the cultural interplay between Scandinavia and the United States of America.
Documentary literature became an international phenomenon on the cultural and political scene in the 1960s and 1970s. From the American
New Journalism in works by such writers as Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe to the German
Industriereportagen by Günther Wallraff and others, documentarism presented a variety of controversial interplays between facts and fiction labeled as ‘faction,' ‘fables of fact' or the like.
Scandinavian literature made important and unique contributions to this international movement, and
Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature is the first comprehensive volume ever published on the historical significance and future implications of these Nordic dimensions of documentarism and their international context. The volume is centered on Swedish documentary literature in the 1960s and 1970s — and on such major writers as Per Olov Enquist, Sven Lindqvist, Sara Lidman, and Per Olov Sundman — but the powerful voices of Danish writer Thorkild Hansen and Norwegian novelist Dag Solstad are also heard in its critical concert.
The diversity of
Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature is further enhanced by surveys and analyses of the historical background for more recent works and activities, and by theoretical inquiries into the epistemological status of documentarism, its theoretical, narrative, and theatrical devices, its predominant genres and links to other modes of mass communication, and its political affiliations and implications.
For readers already familiar with its subject matter
Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature offers an opportunity to revisit and recontextualize a crucial moment in their recent cultural past. For readers who have yet to be exposed to documentary works of fiction, the volume presents a timely theoretical, historical, and critical introduction to the key problematics and potentials of their novel field of interest. Whether viewed as part of the past or part of the present, documentarism remains an intellectual challenge, which this volume is aimed at addressing.
Documentarism in Scandinavian Literature is edited by two Scandinavian scholars living abroad, and its essays are written by senior and junior scholars and critics from Scandinavia, Europe, and America; an interview with Per Olov Enquist and an autobio-graphical piece by Sven Lindqvist complete the volume.
The recent sesquicentennial of August Strindberg's (1849-1912) birth was an appropriate occasion for investigating the role of this towering figure in Nordic literature. By Eugene O'Neill once labeled the most modern of moderns, Strindberg the playwright has commanded a prophetic influence on 20th century drama and theater, and his voluminous production in several other genres continues to constitute a watershed and some of the highpoints in Swedish letters.
Yet, Strindberg remains as controversial today as he was in his lifetime. The nature and degree of his modernity are still under discussion, and so is the impact of his remarkable genre-proliferation and border-transgressing Swedishness. Once considered too unruly for the pillars of society and too pious for the radicals, his artistic and existential points of gravity remain in critical dispute. Generally subjected to traditional modes of inquiry, Strindberg's complexity calls for new critical approaches.
Strindberg and the Other brings together scholars, younger and older, from Scandinavia and abroad, who either venture such new approaches or engage their practitioners in fruitful dialogue. Especially promising among the volume's methodological and theoretical propositions is the notion of the 'other' and 'otherness.' Indeed, the image of August Strindberg himself is quite an-other at this millennium than it was just half a century ago.
This volume on anthropology and authority in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) offers its reader nineteen timely discussions of two fundamental categories pertaining to the literary, philosophical, and theological production of this prominent 19th century Danish thinker, whose vast influence upon 20th century intellectual life continues to grow as the new millennium approaches.
The volume's nineteen contributors - from Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Italy, and the United States - inquire into such complex problematics in Kierkegaard's oeuvre as the interrelationship between the human, the divine, and the spiritual; between the secular and the Christian; between human and Christian love; between state and church institutions and the single individual of faith; and between this individual's concern for quality in civic and religious life and the quantitative forces of modern society's masses and crowds. Special attention is given to the indisputable authority of God, Christ, and the apostles as opposed to the debatable authority, or non-authority, of the author. Of particular interest is the nexus between Kierkegaard's existential and religious concerns, on the one hand, and his intricate textual conceptions, multifarious poetic strategies, and various means of pseudonymous and indirect communication, on the other.
Between the covers of
Anthropology and Authority some chapters seek to refine received knowledge of Kierkegaard in such disciplines as theology and moral philosophy. Conversely, other chapters submit rather postmodern critiques of the author's stylistic and rhetorical devices. A summary assessment of the nineteen contributions would fail to recognize this considerable methodological and theoretical diversity. Instead, the reader's access to the smorgasbord of insights has been facilitated by an introduction in which one of the American editors briefly outline the individual contributions on a general historical and intellectual background.
Altogether, the probing insights of
Anthropology and Authority go to the core of Søren Kierkegaard's authorship. Individual chapters either update previous responses to the many challenges presented by this work, or the chapters face new challenges and/or present critical challenges on their own.