Tag: Mental Illness

The Dangerous Novel

The middle-class novel develops during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in an intensive interplay with the reading woman. To a great extent the new literary genre of the time is addressed to and is about her. For the middle-class woman who was confined in so many ways, reading was to become both a diversion and an education in the woman’s new role. It also became a much discussed and criticised occupation.Ever since the eighteenth century, women had been the best costumers in the bookshop, the keenest borrowers at the libraries, and the most reliable members of the reading clubs, but their reading had constantly been the object of criticism. And in the later part of the eighteenth and in the beginning of the nineteenth century, when novels are gaining ground in Sweden, this is accompanied by heated discussions about the harmful effect of the genre on its female readers. Novel reading was thought to be unwholesome and to render the reader passive. It made women unrealistic, dreamy, and incapable of living.

The Little Bird’s Nest

Approaching her forties, Thekla Knös published some poems that essentially conform to a cheerful, pious, and snug – homey – idealism. By her contemporaries she was regarded as a typical exponent of everyday culture. The contemporary literary critics commended Knös’s poems and saw in her lyric poetry a confirmation of the thesis that the ‘historical period of art’ had ended. This did not mean that the poem, or poetry, had had its day, but that it had been given a new function, namely to embellish everyday life.Accordingly, the field of poetry was opened up to the female poet as well. Her interest in children is striking. Not only does she write about children, she also writes for children, and her career as a female author is thus typical of the period. Unfortunately she vanished to the place where so many creative and frustrated women formerly ended their lives, the asylum.