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Mellan europeisk kris och amerikansk utopi

Eriksson Norberg, Lisa LU (2013) ILHM05 20131
Division of History of Ideas and Sciences
Abstract
In this thesis I study depictions of USA in works written by the two Swedish authors Anna Lenah Elgström (1884-1968) and Lars Gustafsson (1936- ). The purpose is to shed light on the expressions of modernity in crisis in their depictions of the USA. To fulfill this purpose I study the material from a phenomenological method approach combined with a theoretical focus. I find that they both give expressions to a deep sense of crisis in their own time. USA is in different ways connected to the future. The idea of progress as developed during the 18th century enlightenment, and incorporated into 19th century modern thought of society and history, is being challenged. Both Elgström and Gustafsson give expressions of a crisis of modernity in... (More)
In this thesis I study depictions of USA in works written by the two Swedish authors Anna Lenah Elgström (1884-1968) and Lars Gustafsson (1936- ). The purpose is to shed light on the expressions of modernity in crisis in their depictions of the USA. To fulfill this purpose I study the material from a phenomenological method approach combined with a theoretical focus. I find that they both give expressions to a deep sense of crisis in their own time. USA is in different ways connected to the future. The idea of progress as developed during the 18th century enlightenment, and incorporated into 19th century modern thought of society and history, is being challenged. Both Elgström and Gustafsson give expressions of a crisis of modernity in their meetings with the USA. In their depictions of the nation they seek a future that somehow will turn out differently from the European past; as if the new world could actually mean a new world. Europe is being experienced as heavily weighed down by crisis. Both authors uses ideas that rebels against modernity’s concept of a progressive, linear historical motion, such as expressed by civilization critics like Spengler and Nietzsche. At the same time I find that primarily Elgström expresses ambiguity towards modernity’s progressive thought. Her sense of crisis comes from the experience of the First World War. Gustafsson’s sense of crisis stemmed from a feeling of a European modern crisis that had been going on since the 19th century. In his depictions of California and Texas I show that he revisions the concept of utopia; it might already exist here and now. Overall I find that Elgström had a less utopian vision with the USA than Gustafsson. Her dissatisfaction with the world is growing between the years 1927 and 1934. New to this study in comparison to earlier research, is how I study the authors’ views of different places in the USA. I show that different parts of the vast country is being differently portrayed and connected to the present, past and the future. The USA thus come to be subject of the authors own schemes of historical development. New is also the fact that I make two rather overlooked Swedish authorships and important portrayers of American life and society, the cornerstones in my thesis. Earlier research concerning Swedish images of the USA have spent a lot time discussing how USA was used to handle the Swedish modernity. In studying Lars Gustafssons depictions of USA, I am now able to talk about a postmodern image of the USA. (Less)
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author
Eriksson Norberg, Lisa LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Mellan europeisk kris och amerikansk utopi: Svenska skildringar av USA hos Anna Lenah Elgström och Lars Gustafsson
course
ILHM05 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Swedish authors, 20th century, USA, travel books, crisis, modernity, postmodernity, future images, intellectual history, utopia, civilization criticism
language
Swedish
id
4024683
date added to LUP
2013-11-20 09:30:58
date last changed
2013-11-20 09:30:58
@misc{4024683,
  abstract     = {In this thesis I study depictions of USA in works written by the two Swedish authors Anna Lenah Elgström (1884-1968) and Lars Gustafsson (1936- ). The purpose is to shed light on the expressions of modernity in crisis in their depictions of the USA. To fulfill this purpose I study the material from a phenomenological method approach combined with a theoretical focus. I find that they both give expressions to a deep sense of crisis in their own time. USA is in different ways connected to the future. The idea of progress as developed during the 18th century enlightenment, and incorporated into 19th century modern thought of society and history, is being challenged. Both Elgström and Gustafsson give expressions of a crisis of modernity in their meetings with the USA. In their depictions of the nation they seek a future that somehow will turn out differently from the European past; as if the new world could actually mean a new world. Europe is being experienced as heavily weighed down by crisis. Both authors uses ideas that rebels against modernity’s concept of a progressive, linear historical motion, such as expressed by civilization critics like Spengler and Nietzsche. At the same time I find that primarily Elgström expresses ambiguity towards modernity’s progressive thought. Her sense of crisis comes from the experience of the First World War. Gustafsson’s sense of crisis stemmed from a feeling of a European modern crisis that had been going on since the 19th century. In his depictions of California and Texas I show that he revisions the concept of utopia; it might already exist here and now. Overall I find that Elgström had a less utopian vision with the USA than Gustafsson. Her dissatisfaction with the world is growing between the years 1927 and 1934. New to this study in comparison to earlier research, is how I study the authors’ views of different places in the USA. I show that different parts of the vast country is being differently portrayed and connected to the present, past and the future. The USA thus come to be subject of the authors own schemes of historical development. New is also the fact that I make two rather overlooked Swedish authorships and important portrayers of American life and society, the cornerstones in my thesis. Earlier research concerning Swedish images of the USA have spent a lot time discussing how USA was used to handle the Swedish modernity. In studying Lars Gustafssons depictions of USA, I am now able to talk about a postmodern image of the USA.},
  author       = {Eriksson Norberg, Lisa},
  keyword      = {Swedish authors,20th century,USA,travel books,crisis,modernity,postmodernity,future images,intellectual history,utopia,civilization criticism},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Mellan europeisk kris och amerikansk utopi},
  year         = {2013},
}