Kalendarium

Transformationer: 1800-talets svenska translitteratur genom Lasse-Maja, C.J.L. Almqvist och Aurora Ljungstedt

  • Datum: 2017-04-07 kl 10:15
  • Plats: Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Uppsala
  • Föreläsare: Holmqvist, Sam
  • Webbsida
  • Arrangör: Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen
  • Kontaktperson: Holmqvist, Sam
  • Disputation

Disputation

Literary descriptions of shifting from and transgressing assigned sex were common in 19th Century Sweden. This thesis forms a contribution to the larger project of writing a history of Swedish trans literature, and develops new interpretations of certain works of fiction by applying a transgender studies perspective. Through trans readings the thesis also examines what potential and possible implications literature might have for trans people beyond the literary realm. Trans readings are able to supplement earlier research by providing a nuanced understanding of the production of trans- and cisgenders. The theoretical perspectives used in the thesis are drawn for the most part from queer and transgender studies. The thesis adopts a conceptual understanding of trans as a movement, and aims to widen the scope of what may be considered relevant to a history of trans literature.

The primary objects of analysis are the 1833 autobiography of widely known thief and cross-dresser Lasse-Maja (Lars Molin), C.J.L. Almqvist’s Drottningens juvelsmycke (1834), and Aurora Ljungstedt’s Moderna typer (1874). In closing, two texts from the fin-de-siècle are also closely read; Amanda Kerfstedt’s Reflexer (1901) and Frida Stéenhoff’s “Ett sällsamt öde” (1911). A wide range of other fiction is additionally studied in order to establish a contextual pattern of trans literary traditions.

The thesis demonstrates that trans permeates all kinds of fiction, and that the characters analysed construct both trans and cis gender categories. It concludes that trans is done in a variety of ways, and with a variety of meanings in 19th and early 20th century literature. Trans is often depicted as a positive, fruitful and desirable act, through trans characters who are both themselves subjects of erotic desire and who become symbols of liberty and emancipation. Other trans figures however are often counter images of what are considered to be correct sexes, and are depicted as threatening and/or ridiculous. Both these negative and positive representations of trans affirm the gender binary. At the same time, they also break and destabilize that same binary, and the trans characters in the study both can and cannot be interpreted as transgressing cis- and heteronormativity respectively.