Female poets of the early twentieth century discreetly described sexual experiences in terms of grass that smoulders or is flattened like a mat beneath the lovers. Eventually, the euphemisms grew unnecessary and Eros’ significance to a generation of female poets becomes obvious in the work of Berit Spong, Ingeborg Björklund, Greta Knutson, Martha Larsson, Maria Wine, Ingeborg Erixson, and Elsa Grave, among others.
Social criticism and new consciousness in Norwegian women’s literature of the 1970s.
Female writers of the Romantic movement did not have the academic training in literary tradition enjoyed by the majority of their male colleagues; this did not, however, mean that they approached literature with no prior aptitude whatsoever. If anything, being voracious readers they were stuffed with the male writers’ descriptions of the world and of themselves. They had an overwhelming urge to supplement and correct these pictures of women and the world according to their own minds. The female writers displayed a strong sense of having something new to tell.They were, naturally, aware that they were inscribing themselves in a literary institution that neither bid them welcome to the profession nor accepted their texts as authoritative. It was not easy to win readers for the images of woman and world that the female writers were attempting to project. Furthermore, the gender dualism and idealisation of intimate sphere-femininity of romanticism meant that the women writers struggled to integrate their writing self in their female self-image.
The Swedish writer Hilma Angered-Strandberg offers something of an aesthetic manifesto. She wants her fiction to spring forth, both “from a desire to write in the moment of inspiration, and from a desire to be useful, to grasp people’s ears and force them to listen to all the things that are wrong and shameful out here”. The lines are written with reference to her breakthrough work Västerut (1887; Out West), which is a collection of short stories set in the Swedish west-coast province of Bohuslän. Throughout her life, Hilma Angered-Strandberg was possessed by a desire to write. Through bitter experience, she realised that if an author wants to depict life in a credible way, she must in her fiction allow herself the lack of order that is characteristic of life itself.