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"Pietism, Modernity, Bildning and the Aesthetics of Nature"

Thomas Mohnike, Strasbourg

The encounter with nature is of central importance in Nordic literature. As a chronotope, nature develops from a place that speaks of God in the beginning of the 19th century to a place of transcendence often deprived of all explicit reference to Christian religion. My project analyzes this transition in the central oeuvres of Scandinavian literature from the the 18th century to the present day. By drawing on groups of texts from four different historical epochs – Oehlenschläger, Tegnér and Welhaven; Ibsen, Bremer, Rydberg and Lagerlöf; Blixen, Lagerkvist, Haugen, Lidman, Ekman and Tunström; Niemi, Lindgren, and Hoem – I explore the interaction between nature, narrations of self and collective formation, and elements of Pietist aesthetic discourse. In particular, my analysis focuses on the replacement of God by nature and art in projects of self and collective formations. As an important context of the literature of this period is the building of a welfare state, this project relates directly to the partner project on the Nordic Welfare State.

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