Around the time of the millennium, a new generation of female Nordic authors had their debut. Their signature style was perfomative experimentation with a splash of humour and irony. The authors were building upon a gender-conscious literary tradition and taking inspiration from contemporary gender theorists such as Sara Ahmed and Judith Butler. Leading voices of this generation include Christina Hagen, Kristina Nya Glaffey, Mara Lee and Trude Marstein.
On Literary Sexual Politics in the 1930s
When Sweden introduced universal suffrage in the 1920s, a number of established authors used the autobiographical genre to tell their story and forge their artistic identity. Largely due to well-established authors like Selma Lagerlöf, Mathilda Malling, Helena Nyblom, and Marika Stiernstedt, women’s autobiographies acquired greater literary status in the Sweden of the 1920s. The trend peaked in the 1940s and reflected both growing interest and greater feminine self-assuredness. At first glance, such works may appear to be simply margin notes – documentary evidence of their lives behind, alongside of, or prior to their art. Not unexpectedly, however, the autobiographies fully reflect the professions of their authors. They vary greatly, but what all these autobiographers had in common, however, was that they focused more on their writing than their personal lives. Of equal importance is that they furnish their readers with clear instructions for interpreting their works.
As a proponent of family planning and contraception, Danish writer Thit Jensen was a both loved and controversial participant in the public debate of her day. Unsurprisingly, the ‘personality project’ – to be a person, standing on one’s own two feet, following one’s resolve, and having the courage of one’s convictions – is a motive force in all her works. The dream of a unified whole steers the personality project: to be able to love and to work, develop one’s self and serve others, combine private and societal, be an artist, not just in name but in fact.Thit Jensen’s personal and artistic visions are united by a structure of female solicitude. She wanted to do more than the conventional forms of the novel could manage. She combines novel of formation and novel of development with social commentary, bordering, but not finding, a collective form. She thus bursts open the form, but does not find a new form that could unify and support her desire for accomplishment.
Emergence of a Female Public Arena in Norway