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Världar i Brand. Fiktion, politik och romantik i det tidiga 1900-talets ungsocialistiska press

Hilborn, Emma LU (2014)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

När vi tänker på skönlitteraturen får den gärna en drömmande klang som för tankarna till främmande platser långt borta från vardagen. Samtidigt kan skönlitteraturen måla upp slående bilder av världen och övertygande sätta in politiska och kulturella frågor i ett större meningsfullt sammanhang. Ingenstans blir detta tydligare än i Brands skönlitteratur. I det ungsocialistiska förbundets tidning Brand publicerades mängder av skönlitteratur under det tidiga 1900-talet. Trots att man var en radikal socialistisk grupp med anspråk på inflytande både inom det socialdemokratiska partiet och i arbetarrörelsen i stort, formerades man kring en tidning med en häpnadsväckande mängd uppenbart uppdiktade... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

När vi tänker på skönlitteraturen får den gärna en drömmande klang som för tankarna till främmande platser långt borta från vardagen. Samtidigt kan skönlitteraturen måla upp slående bilder av världen och övertygande sätta in politiska och kulturella frågor i ett större meningsfullt sammanhang. Ingenstans blir detta tydligare än i Brands skönlitteratur. I det ungsocialistiska förbundets tidning Brand publicerades mängder av skönlitteratur under det tidiga 1900-talet. Trots att man var en radikal socialistisk grupp med anspråk på inflytande både inom det socialdemokratiska partiet och i arbetarrörelsen i stort, formerades man kring en tidning med en häpnadsväckande mängd uppenbart uppdiktade historier. Vad var det i fiktionen som man inte ansåg sig kunna undvara?

I Världar i Brand visas hur fiktionen kunde formulera kraftfulla politiska, etiska och moraliska visioner. Den kunde vara samhällstillvänd och kontroversiell samtidigt som den var drömmande, full av dramatiska händelser och mystiska stämningar. Genom att den politiska fiktionen sätts i centrum för en kulturhistorisk studie, belyses hur det är möjligt att betrakta politik och fiktion som samverkande och hur skönlitteraturen kan ge en unik inblick i de föreställningar, drömmar och fantasier som skapades kring sekelskiftet 1900. Med skönlitteraturens hjälp skapades sammanhang mellan skilda politiska frågorna. Så kunde arbetarens blodiga öde i fabrikskvarnen, de arbetslösas tröstlösa vandringar och de prostituerade kvinnornas förnedring alla ingå i en framställning av den onda världen genom sin gemensamma koppling till industrin och fabriken. Den ensamme, drömmande ynglingen i skogen och det älskande paret i vindsvåningen hörde samman genom att vara två uttryck för den goda världens natur. Världarna i Brand var tydligt präglade av en sentimental och högst erotisk romantik som inte var identisk varken med den politiska högerns vurmande för krig och militär eller med den kampberedda heroismen i sekelskiftets socialistiska retorik. Med hjälp av denna romantik avtäcktes de högre makter som var verksamma i världarna. Helvetiska arbetsplatser eller en hänförande vacker skogsglänta var aldrig bara detta: de var lika mycket uttryck för de destruktiva respektive de helande krafternas verkan i världen. Fabriken avslöjades som ett rykande helvete och en malande kvarn medan skogen och den fria naturen i själva verket var en ständigt pågående kärleksakt som kunde ta sig uttryck också genom människornas kroppar. Uppgivenheten inför kriget blir begriplig då slagfältets likbestödda värld kopplas till en förlust av den romantiska visionen av världen som uppdelad i en ond och en god sida. Fiktionen var viktig i Brand – inte trots utan tack vare tidningens politiska ambitioner. Med skönlitteraturens hjälp ville man sätta världen i brand. (Less)
Abstract
This study delves into the relationship between fiction and politics, aesthetic and ethical messages conveyed by the fictions of Brand (Fire), the journal of the Young Socialist Association, founded as the Social Democratic Labour Party’s first youth association. The literary and aesthetic arena allowed many different kinds of ideas and thoughts to flourish, making Brand an important cultural paper between the years 1898–1917, as well as a political one. Using a concept of ”world”, this thesis centres on the way fiction can convey a whole set of phenomena and narratives, which serves to make the political messages more convincing and speaks to the reader´s heartfelt emotions. Combining the stress on political action and the importance of... (More)
This study delves into the relationship between fiction and politics, aesthetic and ethical messages conveyed by the fictions of Brand (Fire), the journal of the Young Socialist Association, founded as the Social Democratic Labour Party’s first youth association. The literary and aesthetic arena allowed many different kinds of ideas and thoughts to flourish, making Brand an important cultural paper between the years 1898–1917, as well as a political one. Using a concept of ”world”, this thesis centres on the way fiction can convey a whole set of phenomena and narratives, which serves to make the political messages more convincing and speaks to the reader´s heartfelt emotions. Combining the stress on political action and the importance of education – insights most often emphasised in studies of the fiction produced within the worker’s movement – with elements such as sentimental melodrama, exciting adventure, or pleasurable fantasies, commonly associated with ”pulp literature”, I propose to offer a partly new perspective on the relation between fiction and politics in the labour movement as well as in historical research.

As a consequence of my focus on fiction, the conventional milestones of the history of the labour movement, are relatively absent from the worlds described in the thesis. Instead, there is a clear emphasis on durable problems and issues, which could be integrated in a narrative, using memorable fictional characters. The structure of the two main empirical chapters emanates from the romantic dualism presented in the first chapter on God and Satan, and further analysed in the fourth and last empirical chapter in relation to war. In the fiction of Brand, the evil world was construed as one of industry, whereas the world of nature represented all that was good. The romantic movement at the turn of the century is usually described as an essentially right-wing and conservative one. In contrast, the fiction in Brand seems to be heavily dependent on a wholly different kind of romanticism; a dreaming and delicate one incompatible neither with military conflict nor the aggressive rhetoric of the left wing, but more common in the popular, sentimental novels of the time. Fiction was able to bring seemingly disparate themes together to a meaningful whole. Furthermore, the fictional worlds of Brand deepen our understanding of the early 20th century; not only do they show the importance of romanticism in the radical socialist movement – they also help us to fully comprehend certain political issues at the time. The fictional stories were an essential part of Brand, not despite its political agenda but because of its ambition to change the world. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • fil dr Qvarnström, Sofi, Lunds universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
pages
354 pages
publisher
Agerings bokförlag
defense location
Sal 3, historiska institutionen, Magle stora kyrkogata 12, Lund
defense date
2014-04-04 10:15
ISBN
9789186119249
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
d8eeda51-82e3-4880-a60a-c72453ac088a (old id 4352705)
date added to LUP
2014-03-07 10:35:44
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:06
@phdthesis{d8eeda51-82e3-4880-a60a-c72453ac088a,
  abstract     = {This study delves into the relationship between fiction and politics, aesthetic and ethical messages conveyed by the fictions of Brand (Fire), the journal of the Young Socialist Association, founded as the Social Democratic Labour Party’s first youth association. The literary and aesthetic arena allowed many different kinds of ideas and thoughts to flourish, making Brand an important cultural paper between the years 1898–1917, as well as a political one. Using a concept of ”world”, this thesis centres on the way fiction can convey a whole set of phenomena and narratives, which serves to make the political messages more convincing and speaks to the reader´s heartfelt emotions. Combining the stress on political action and the importance of education – insights most often emphasised in studies of the fiction produced within the worker’s movement – with elements such as sentimental melodrama, exciting adventure, or pleasurable fantasies, commonly associated with ”pulp literature”, I propose to offer a partly new perspective on the relation between fiction and politics in the labour movement as well as in historical research. <br/><br>
As a consequence of my focus on fiction, the conventional milestones of the history of the labour movement, are relatively absent from the worlds described in the thesis. Instead, there is a clear emphasis on durable problems and issues, which could be integrated in a narrative, using memorable fictional characters. The structure of the two main empirical chapters emanates from the romantic dualism presented in the first chapter on God and Satan, and further analysed in the fourth and last empirical chapter in relation to war. In the fiction of Brand, the evil world was construed as one of industry, whereas the world of nature represented all that was good. The romantic movement at the turn of the century is usually described as an essentially right-wing and conservative one. In contrast, the fiction in Brand seems to be heavily dependent on a wholly different kind of romanticism; a dreaming and delicate one incompatible neither with military conflict nor the aggressive rhetoric of the left wing, but more common in the popular, sentimental novels of the time. Fiction was able to bring seemingly disparate themes together to a meaningful whole. Furthermore, the fictional worlds of Brand deepen our understanding of the early 20th century; not only do they show the importance of romanticism in the radical socialist movement – they also help us to fully comprehend certain political issues at the time. The fictional stories were an essential part of Brand, not despite its political agenda but because of its ambition to change the world.},
  author       = {Hilborn, Emma},
  isbn         = {9789186119249},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {354},
  publisher    = {Agerings bokförlag},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Världar i Brand. Fiktion, politik och romantik i det tidiga 1900-talets ungsocialistiska press},
  year         = {2014},
}