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Att förhandla det förflutna : historiebilden i Halldór Laxness Islands klocka och dess samtida reception

Gustafsson, Harald LU (2014) In Scandia 80(1). p.11-38
Abstract
In the years 1943, 1944 and 1946, the Icelandic author Halldór Laxness published the three parts of his novel Íslandsklukkan (called Iceland’s Bell in Philip Roughton’s recent, excellent translation). This is a historical novel, taking place around the turn of the seventeenth century. The way Icelandic history is depicted in the novel, and the way this was discussed in the reviews in Icelandic papers and journals of the time, is here regarded as process of negotiating history. Laxness’ bid in this negotiation is seen against the dominating script, the tradition of interpreting Icelandic history in national terms.

The novel has two dominating tendencies: national and social. In national terms, it depicts Iceland as suppressed, in... (More)
In the years 1943, 1944 and 1946, the Icelandic author Halldór Laxness published the three parts of his novel Íslandsklukkan (called Iceland’s Bell in Philip Roughton’s recent, excellent translation). This is a historical novel, taking place around the turn of the seventeenth century. The way Icelandic history is depicted in the novel, and the way this was discussed in the reviews in Icelandic papers and journals of the time, is here regarded as process of negotiating history. Laxness’ bid in this negotiation is seen against the dominating script, the tradition of interpreting Icelandic history in national terms.

The novel has two dominating tendencies: national and social. In national terms, it depicts Iceland as suppressed, in economic and in political terms, by the Danes. In social terms, it is a country consisting of a small elite sustained by a large, poor and suppressed peasantry. The reviewers focus, however, with very few exceptions, on the first of these tendencies. The period is seen as the time of the deepest humiliation and suppression ever of the Icelandic nation, and the fact that this nation in the novel also is described as socially divided is hardly mentioned. I

The reason for this selective reception is that the national tendency fitted well into the traditional script of Icelandic historical consciousness, while the social perspective fell outside the national romantic view of a unified nation. Laxness’ bid failed to get any response, since the traditional script dominated even among his fellow left-wing critics. In this way, Laxness involuntarily came to side with his worst political opponents, and contributed to the continuing vigour of the traditional Icelandic historical narrative. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
fiction, Iceland, Halldór Laxness, negotiating history, reception
in
Scandia
volume
80
issue
1
pages
11 - 38
publisher
Stiftelsen Scandia
external identifiers
  • wos:000338482200002
  • scopus:84903587489
ISSN
0036-5483
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
14fdc565-1765-4ecb-a22e-2f1a650a4302 (old id 4529840)
date added to LUP
2014-07-04 09:16:30
date last changed
2017-01-01 05:36:30
@article{14fdc565-1765-4ecb-a22e-2f1a650a4302,
  abstract     = {In the years 1943, 1944 and 1946, the Icelandic author Halldór Laxness published the three parts of his novel Íslandsklukkan (called Iceland’s Bell in Philip Roughton’s recent, excellent translation). This is a historical novel, taking place around the turn of the seventeenth century. The way Icelandic history is depicted in the novel, and the way this was discussed in the reviews in Icelandic papers and journals of the time, is here regarded as process of negotiating history. Laxness’ bid in this negotiation is seen against the dominating script, the tradition of interpreting Icelandic history in national terms.<br/><br>
The novel has two dominating tendencies: national and social. In national terms, it depicts Iceland as suppressed, in economic and in political terms, by the Danes. In social terms, it is a country consisting of a small elite sustained by a large, poor and suppressed peasantry. The reviewers focus, however, with very few exceptions, on the first of these tendencies. The period is seen as the time of the deepest humiliation and suppression ever of the Icelandic nation, and the fact that this nation in the novel also is described as socially divided is hardly mentioned. I<br/><br>
The reason for this selective reception is that the national tendency fitted well into the traditional script of Icelandic historical consciousness, while the social perspective fell outside the national romantic view of a unified nation. Laxness’ bid failed to get any response, since the traditional script dominated even among his fellow left-wing critics. In this way, Laxness involuntarily came to side with his worst political opponents, and contributed to the continuing vigour of the traditional Icelandic historical narrative.},
  author       = {Gustafsson, Harald},
  issn         = {0036-5483},
  keyword      = {fiction,Iceland,Halldór Laxness,negotiating history,reception},
  language     = {swe},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {11--38},
  publisher    = {Stiftelsen Scandia},
  series       = {Scandia},
  title        = {Att förhandla det förflutna : historiebilden i Halldór Laxness Islands klocka och dess samtida reception},
  volume       = {80},
  year         = {2014},
}