Around the 2000s, the personal, once again, became political and a new generation of female poets has since been addressing the globalized, mediarised reality through themes such as gender, identity and the body.Through their poetry, connections are created between intimate, bodily affairs and global issues such as war and climate change as well as questions surrounding white privilege and the traces of colonialism. Among today’s female poets are Mette Moestrup, Aase Berg, Ida Börjel and Gerður Kristný.
New Trajectories Between Signs. The Transformations of the Author Function at the Turn of the 21st century
Around the turn of the 21st century, a new author function arises – also called a seminaut, meaning somebody who perceives the world as accessible material that can be collected and re-worked. The author’s body and private life are understood neither as fundamentally irrelevant nor per definition relevant but rather as material that can be recycled. Exponents of this writing style include, Christina Hagen, Mona Høvring, Athena Farrokhzad and Niviaq Korneliussen.
In Swedish women’s prose of the 1980s, we find an attitude that is focused on the self and is explicitly critical of language, as well as a thematisation and revision of monstrous and angelic traits that relate to the tradition of women’s literature.
With her debut collection, Indeni – udenfor (1967; Within – Without), Danish writer Kirsten Thorup succeeded in placing herself from the outset at the centre of the literary arena. Here and in her subsequent collections she explored the positions of alienation, powerlessness, and objectification in a markedly personal voice. With her remarkable novel Baby (1973) it became clear that Kirsten Thorup had something more to say. This novel was a stylised and compact prelude to a comprehensive body of contemporary literature that has made her one of the most widely read authors in Denmark.Kirsten Thorup presents us with an unmerciful and paradoxically loving portrait of the apocalyptic images that constitute contemporary culture.
Finnish author Eeva Kilpi made her debut in 1959 with the collection of short stories Noidanlukko (Moonwort), and during the 1960s she published a number of novels and short story collections in which the pairs of opposites – man and woman, body and intellect, but even more city and countryside – were the mainstay. With the collection of poems Laulu rakkaudesta (1972; Songs of Love) and the novel Tamara (1972; Eng. tr. Tamara), Eeva Kilpi became one of the leaders of the Finnish women’s literature scene. One of the central themes of her oeuvre is the assertion that the city and modern technology kill not only plants and animals but also people. She has a singular mix of longing for the village and militant eco-activism, and her organic and holistic vision of life is clearly expressed in her writings. With her autobiographical trilogy she writes the history of WWII from the perspective of women and the Finnish home front. She enables the reader’s own memory work while describing her own, and she consistently completes the critique of civilisation that has been the driving force throughout her works.
With her remarkable debut novel Tjärdalen (1953; The Tar Kiln), Sara Lidman laid the ground for a magnificent literary world, to which her oeuvre remained faithful. Her novels are constructed around a multitude of people, united in the village. Usually this village is situated in Norrland, on the outskirts of civilisation, but it has scions in Africa and Vietnam. Its characteristics are poverty and exploitation – but at the same time it is presented as a strangely rich collective.In terms of themes, tough questions of guilt and treason are raised, but they are wrapped in a loving, forgiving narrative, in a continued balancing act between law and grace. At times, Sara Lidman’s main contribution was only partly that of the author. Just as important was the debater, the playwright, and above all the political speaker Sara Lidman. She appears in an unusual combination of being fact-oriented yet in possession of an emotional language, a mixture of the front reporter and the Canticles. Exemplary, loved, and hated.
Vibeke Grønfeldt’s body of work has grown steadily and is now very comprehensive. However, despite the weight, despite the attention and respect surrounding her work, it stands strangely isolated in the literary debate. Just as the author still lives on the small Danish island of her birth, Samsø, so her work similarly insists on remaining on the fringe of culture.
The Danish modernism of the 1960s, of which Dorrit Willumsen was a part, had turned, in terms of cultural criticism, towards the modern consumer and mass society and its influence on the existence of the individual. Modernity in the form of commodity society removes the ‘I’ from the self, rendering it a stranger to itself.In Dorrit Willumsen’s texts, the woman is portrayed from the very beginning as the primary victim and the preferred form of expression of modernity; she is both the antithesis and the quintessence of culture. Throughout Dorrit Willumsen’s oeuvre, it is the image of women that becomes the primary symbol of the conflict between outer and inner.
The Finnish author Hagar Olsson’s debut from 1916 was brought out the same year as Edith Södergran’s first poetry collection. According to literary historians, the twin events marked the birth of Finland-Swedish modernism. Dagens Press (The Daily Press) hired Olsson as its literary critic in 1918, providing her with a venue to wage her celebrated campaign for ‘modernity’ in art and literature. Her entire literary project is about faith in the life force, the power of the spirit to transform the world, and the artist’s holy calling. She achieved the most significant formal renewal in her dramatic works. Olsson was largely interested in creating political theatre that preaches and agitates.The theme of “the new woman” and associated issues was more conspicuous with each novel Olsson wrote in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Her association with the group that published the radical feminist magazine Tidevarvet and with the Women´ s College for Civic Training at Fogelstad whetted her appetite for women’s issues.
People’s attitude towards life is the essential thing in Minda Ramm’s oeuvre. Empathy, art, and philosophical wisdom can teach them how to put up with the contradictions that they encounter day by day. Thus, Ramm’s literary credo was the necessity of study and observation.