PhD ceremony: Ms. J.E. Klok, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Det norske litteraere feminopolis 1880-1980. Skam, Undset, Sandel og Haslunds byromaner-mot en ny modernistiek genre
Promotor(s): prof. A.M. Swanson
Janke Kloks investigated the representation of the city by four Norwegian women writers: Amalie Skram (1846–1905), Sigrid Undset (1882–1949), Cora Sandel (1880–1974) and Ebba Haslund (1917–2009). She developed a special thematic reading model for the analysis of the oeuvres, which turned out also to be functional for the analysis of the literary-historical reception of those oeuvres and produced new insights. It revealed the asynchronous reception and canonization of the female literary city – or literary Feminapolis – and that this Feminapolis is a valuable supplement to accepted definitions of modernity and literary modernity.
The four oeuvres – encompassing an entire century of Norwegian literary history – have remarkable similarities in theme, style and reception. The representation of the city is part of the poetics of all four authors, and the novels are more experimental and innovative in theme and form than has previously been recognized in literary historiography. In addition to new interpretation possibilities for the texts themselves, the literary city as a reading strategy turns out to offer new perspectives on their mutual coherence. Research into the Norwegian literary Feminapolis demonstrates that the optimism that followed the doom and gloom of the European fin de siècle did not reach the 20th century feminine urban novel in Norwegian literary history. The thesis ends with an initial definition of a new modernist subgenre, ‘The feminine urban novel’, and an invitation to reflect further on this genre.
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