Cornelis Vreeswijk. Artist - vispoet - lyriker

Translated title of the contribution: Cornelis Vreeswijk. Artist - Song writer - Poet

Ulf Carlsson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The six chapters of this study approach the work of Cornelis Vreeswijk from different perspectives with an emphasis on the motifs, poetic technique, and intertextuality of individual songs amd Iyrical texts.

Vreeswijks s work is interpreted in the context of contemporary history and debate, the cultural tradition to which it belongs and important events in the author's life. The first chapter focuses on Vreeswijk's role as a commentator on the societal development of the 60's and early 70's and connects him with the black humour of that time. Chaptor 2 deals with Vreeswijk's relationship to the complex clown tradition and to Mikhail Bakthin s notion of the carnivalesque. From 1970Ohe voice of a tragi comical clown predominates in Vreeswijk's songs. This clown is made to bear a resemblance to the public image of Vreeswijk himself as a musician and offensive Bohemian. The third chapter discusses the outsider motif in Vreeswijk's texts. His songs portray society's outsiders but also allude to the ideas and motifs in the works of Albert Camus, Colin Wilson, Norman Mailer and Gunnar Ekelöf Chapter 4 concentrates on a conspicuous motif in Vreeswijk's poetry. that of an isolated, gloomy speaker meditating on life, death and transcendence. This motif is related to the long tradition of representations of melancholy. Chapter 5 deals with Vreeswijk's love songs and his relationship to the poetry of Evert Taube. Vreeswijk satirizes Taube's romantic naivety though some of his texts should be seen as loving parodies of Taube's chivalric pose. The last chapter concentrates on Vreeswijk's work in the 1980's when he often took it upon himself to warn and protest against the evils in society. It also discusses Vreeswijk's relationship to the blues genre. From the very beginning he had made use of the blues genre in an original way, combining it with other traditions.
Translated title of the contributionCornelis Vreeswijk. Artist - Song writer - Poet
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Comparative Literature
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1996 Sept 28
ISBN (Print)91-564-1025-5
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1996-09-28
Time: 10:15
Place: Edens hörsal

External reviewer(s)

Name: [unknown], [unknown]
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: [unknown]


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • litteraturkritik
  • Popular culture
  • Allmän och jämförande litteratur
  • carnival
  • song Iyrics
  • intertextuality
  • blues
  • outsider
  • melancholy
  • General and comparative literature
  • literary theory
  • literature criticism
  • litteraturteori


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