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Title: Images of a promised land in Norwegian and Swedish emigrant novels
Author: Caspi, Dana
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines the use of emigration as a literary theme in Norwegian and Swedish novels. The basic hypothesis presented is that the images employed in literary descriptions of emigration are determined by authors’ attitudes towards emigration which are, in turn, determined by their role as co-creators of a national identity. In general, Norwegian and Swedish authors write for those who did not emigrate, and shape their views on those who did. The study is divided into four main chapters. In the opening chapter an overview of the historical phenomenon of emigration is presented in order to set the study in its appropriate historical context. Since there is a tendency to read the novels discussed in the following chapters as reliable historical accounts, some tensions between fact and fiction are also being noted. In Chapter Two the literary language used in the narration of emigration is explored. Special emphasis is placed on biblical images and their significance in the context of New World rhetoric. The role of the Norse past as a source of images for emigration and colonisation is also examined. In Chapter Three the term ‘emigrant novel’ is introduced and discussed. This is followed by a thematic analysis of a selection of texts with the aim of providing as broad a picture as possible of the treatment of emigration as a literary theme in Norway and Sweden. In Chapter Four a close examination of three core texts - Vilhelm Moberg’s Emigrant epic (1949-1959), Alfred Hauge’s Cleng Peerson trilogy (1961-1965) and Selma Lagerlöf’s Jerusalem (1901-1902) - builds towards a conclusion regarding the essential ingredients of the Scandinavian emigrant novel. Rather than aiming for an unambiguous conclusion, this thesis highlights and investigates recurring patterns. Since the majority of the texts discussed here are set in rural areas, the most important of these patterns is a preoccupation with the agrarian ideal.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available