Världar i Brand. Fiktion, politik och romantik i det tidiga 1900-talets ungsocialistiska press

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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This study delves into the relationship between fiction and politics, aesthetic and ethical messages conveyed by the fictions of Brand (Fire), the journal of the Young Socialist Association, founded as the Social Democratic Labour Party’s first youth association. The literary and aesthetic arena allowed many different kinds of ideas and thoughts to flourish, making Brand an important cultural paper between the years 1898–1917, as well as a political one. Using a concept of ”world”, this thesis centres on the way fiction can convey a whole set of phenomena and narratives, which serves to make the political messages more convincing and speaks to the reader´s heartfelt emotions. Combining the stress on political action and the importance of education – insights most often emphasised in studies of the fiction produced within the worker’s movement – with elements such as sentimental melodrama, exciting adventure, or pleasurable fantasies, commonly associated with ”pulp literature”, I propose to offer a partly new perspective on the relation between fiction and politics in the labour movement as well as in historical research.
As a consequence of my focus on fiction, the conventional milestones of the history of the labour movement, are relatively absent from the worlds described in the thesis. Instead, there is a clear emphasis on durable problems and issues, which could be integrated in a narrative, using memorable fictional characters. The structure of the two main empirical chapters emanates from the romantic dualism presented in the first chapter on God and Satan, and further analysed in the fourth and last empirical chapter in relation to war. In the fiction of Brand, the evil world was construed as one of industry, whereas the world of nature represented all that was good. The romantic movement at the turn of the century is usually described as an essentially right-wing and conservative one. In contrast, the fiction in Brand seems to be heavily dependent on a wholly different kind of romanticism; a dreaming and delicate one incompatible neither with military conflict nor the aggressive rhetoric of the left wing, but more common in the popular, sentimental novels of the time. Fiction was able to bring seemingly disparate themes together to a meaningful whole. Furthermore, the fictional worlds of Brand deepen our understanding of the early 20th century; not only do they show the importance of romanticism in the radical socialist movement – they also help us to fully comprehend certain political issues at the time. The fictional stories were an essential part of Brand, not despite its political agenda but because of its ambition to change the world.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • History
  • Salomon, Kim, Supervisor
  • Cronqvist, Marie, Supervisor
Award date2014 Apr 4
ISBN (Print)9789186119249
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2014-04-04
Time: 10:15
Place: Sal 3, historiska institutionen, Magle stora kyrkogata 12, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Qvarnström, Sofi
Title: fil dr
Affiliation: Lunds universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

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