Internationally, the case of early modern Sweden is noteworthy because the state building process transformed a locally dispersed and sparsely populated area into a strongly centralized absolute monarchy and European empire at the beginning of the 17th century. This anthology provides fresh insights into the state-building process in Sweden. During this transitional period, many far-reaching administrative reforms were carried out, and the Swedish state developed into a prime example of the early modern ‘powerstate’. The contributors approach Sweden’s rise to greatness from the point of view of personal agency. In early modern studies, agency has long remained in the shadow of the study of structures and institutions. This novel approach enables us to expose the difficulties, setbacks and false steps that the administration had to deal with. State building was a more diversified and personalized process than has previously been assumed. Numerous individuals were also crucially important actors in the process, and that development itself was not straightforward progression at the macro-level but was intertwined with lower-level actors.
Each chapter in this volume employs partially different methods depending on the source material and subject. This means that both qualitative and quantitative material is combined, different ways of making sense of it (i.e. research traditions) are brought together and a multi-method design is used in analyzing source material. One of the central methods is the systematic use of previous biographical research. We want to give the individuals and their actions under discussion a background that reflects the contemporary structures of individual life cycles. With the existing biographical research, it is possible to create a comprehensive set of data that provides the general outlines of individual lives or the career tracks of various estates or social groups, and even to construct collective biographies of certain groups.Book Details
Finland-Swedish writer Monika Fagerholm is one of the most important contemporary Nordic authors. Her experimental, puzzling and daring novels, such as Underbara kvinnor vid vatten (1994) and Den amerikanska flickan (2004), have attracted much critical attention. She has won several literary awards, including the Nordic prize from the Swedish Academy in 2016; her works have travelled across national and cultural borders as they have now been translated in USA, Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. Fagerholm’s wild and visionary depictions of girlhood have long had an impact on the Nordic literary landscape; currently, she has many literary followers among young female writers and readers in Finland and Sweden. Novel Districts. Critical Readings of Monika Fagerholm is the first major study of Fagerholm’s works. In this edited volume, literary scholars explore the central themes and features that permeate Fagerholm’s works and introduce novel ways to understand and interpret her writings. The book begins with an introduction to her life, letters and the minority literature context of her writing and briefly describes the scholarship on Fagerholm’s works. After that, Finnish and Swedish scholars and experts on Fagerholm scrutinize her oeuvre in the light of up-to-date literary theory. The insights, theories and concepts of gender, feminist and girlhood studies as well as narratology, poststructuralism, posthumanism and reception studies are tested in close readings of Fagerholm’s works published between 1990 and 2012. Thus, the volume enhances and deepens the understanding of Fagerholm’s fiction and invites the attention of readers not yet familiar with her work. The articles demonstrate the multitude of ways in which literary and cultural conventions can be innovatively re-employed within 20th and 21th century literature to reveal new perspectives on contemporary Finnish and Nordic literature and ongoing cultural and social developments.Book Details
White field, black seeds— who can sow? Although the riddle from which this these words are taken comes from oral tradition, it refers to the ability to write, a skill which in most Nordic countries was not regarded as necessary for everyone. And yet a significant number of ordinary people with no access to formal schooling took up the pen and produced a variety of highly interesting texts: diaries, letters, memoirs, collections of folklore and handwritten newspapers.
This collection presents the work of primarily Nordic scholars from fields such as linguistics, history, literature and folklore studies who share an interest in the production, dissemination and reception of written texts by non-privileged people during the long nineteenth century.Book Details
Noble conceptions of politics in eighteenth-century Sweden (ca 1740–1790) is a study of how the Swedish nobility articulated its political ideals, self-images and loyalties during the Age of Liberty and under the rule of Gustav III. This book takes a close look at the aristocracy’s understanding of a free constitution and at the nobility’s complex relationship with the monarchy. Central themes are the old notion of mixed government, classical republican conceptions of liberty and patriotism, as well as noble thoughts on the rights and duties of the citizen, including the right to rebellion against an unrighteous ruler.
The study is a conceptual analysis of public and private political statements made by members of the nobility, such as Diet speeches and personal correspondence. The book contributes to the large body of research on estate-based identities and the transformation of political language in the second half of the eighteenth century by connecting Swedish political ideals and concepts to their European context.Book Details