”Det kunde lika gärna ha hänt idag” : Maj Bylocks Drakskeppstrilogi och historiemedvetande hos barn i mellanåldrarna

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The aim of this thesis, <i>The Historical Novel and Historical Consciousness in ten- to twelve-year-olds - Maj Bylocks
Drakskeppstrilogi in Theory and Practice</i>, is to illustrate the possibilities for pupils of the ages between ten to
twelve to develop their historical consciousness by participating in classroom work making use of fiction as a
central source of knowledge.
In the first part of the thesis the three novels in the trilogy about the Viking age by the Swedish author Maj
Bylock, <i>Drakskeppet</i> (1997), <i>Det gyllne svärdet</i> (1998) and <i>Borgen i fjärran</i> (1998), are analyzed. The purpose is
to show the conditions given by the novels which could promote children’s own historical consciousness and
how the characters are portrayed in order for the readers to be able to identify with them. Two functions of
the novels are studied: <i>knowledge</i> and <i>analogy</i>. Within the analysis of analogy the concept of empowerment is
central to the portrayal of the protagonist.
The textual analysis shows that the protagonist’s situation as a migrant above all points to cultural encounters
both in the past and in the present time and further highlights the situation of the slaves in the Viking age.
The apparent analogy of the present time means that the novels are well suited to discussions about ethics, the
value of human beings and cultural encounters.
In the second part of the thesis I analyse 11-year-old children’s reading of Bylock’s trilogy. Three pupils’
texts, book talks and interviews and experiences of the novels have been documented during a six week long
thematic project on the Viking age. The analysis is conducted amongst others with the help of Judith A. Langer’s
concept envisionment building. The pupils’ historical consciousness development and newfound knowledge
can partly be related to the analogy and the themes found in the novels. With the assistance of the novels’
“living characters”, the exciting plot and an emotional envolvement the pupils have acquired knowledge and
at the same time developed their historical consciousness. Book talks are of crucial importance in this.


  • Mary Ingemansson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • Judith A. Langer, empowerment, cultural encounters, history, the Viking age, Borgen i fjärran (1998), Det gyllne svärdet (1998), Drakskeppet (1997), Maj Bylock, literature instruction, historical consciousness, The historical novel, the perspective of being the other, envisionment building, literature teaching, reception studies, didactic subject research
Translated title of the contribution”It could just as well have happened today” : Maj Bylock’s Drakskeppstrilogi and Historical Consciousness in ten- to twelve-year-olds
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2010 Oct 9
  • Makadam förlag
Print ISBNs978-91-7061-086-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2010-10-09 Time: 10:15 Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Erixon, Per-Olof Title: professor Affiliation: Umeå universitet ---