Älskad och förnekad: Flickboken i Sverige 1945-65

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The tradition of writing books specifically for girls came to an abrupt end in the middle of the 1960's. In Sweden this was a turbulent decade when society changed in many ways, and equality between the sexes was a key word. The old girls' and boys' books were replaced by "the modern book for young people", which, it was proclaimed, should be up-to-date, discuss real problems, break taboos, and appeal equally to girls and boys. In research and in historic surveys, most of the attention has been paid to this new genre, while girls' fiction from the after-war period is either hardly mentioned, or described with contempt .

The aim of this dissertation is to investigare and describe girls' fiction from the period 1945-65 in Sweden. The theoretical base for my approach is Alastair Fowler's view that a genre is not a list of criteria, but a family likeness functioning, in a certain community at a certain time, as a pre-understanding of the text, a background against which the text is read. My investigation includes all books which were regarded as girls' fiction by contemporary editors, reviewers, book sellers or authoritative handbooks for parents.

When studying the whole genre, not only a few "typical" items, I found that girls' fiction of this period was very different from what is generally assumed today. It dealt with serious problems like war, racism, alcoholism, divorce and death. Romance was a common subject, but the girl protagonist mostly did not surrender to the man she loved, but kept the power over her life. On the whole, the protagonists were strong characters who solved problems with enthusiasm and competence. Personal development and human relations were important themes, but the major part of the genre dealt more with adventures, every-day trouble, professional or other work, or depicting foreign cultures.

The genre was not a lifeless and stereotypical remnant from the past. On the contrary, it was a vigorous literature with 1,022 new titles and many interesting authorships, often highly esteemed by contemporary critics.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Comparative Literature
  • Hedén, Birger, Supervisor
Award date2006 Oct 28
Place of PublicationGöteborg
Print ISBNs978-91-7061-031-8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2006-10-28
Time: 10:15
Place: Humanisthusets hörsal, Helgonabacken 14

External reviewer(s)

Name: Kåreland, Lena
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen, Uppsala universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • General and comparative literature
  • Betty Cavanna
  • Annik Saxegaard
  • Mary Stolz
  • Merri Vik
  • Elsa Nyblom
  • Anna-Lisa Lundkvist
  • Martha Sandwall-Bergström
  • Claque
  • Astrid Lindgren
  • reader inquiries
  • Alastair Fowler
  • genre studies
  • the after-war period
  • girls' fiction
  • children's literature
  • Allmän och jämförande litteraturvetenskap
  • Scandinavian languages and literature
  • Nordiska språk (språk och litteratur)

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