En människas uttryck. Studier i Hans Ruins självbiografiska essäistik

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The first dissertation in Swedish of the Finno-Swedish aesthetician, philosopher and writer Hans Ruin (1891–1980) combines an interest in the literary expression with an interest in the man behind the words. Literature as a human document, as the footprint of a human being, and its function as a bearer of experiences and insights is at the heart of the characterisation. The title of this dissertation – A man’s expression – illustrates the synthesis between the literary and the human. The subtitle shows that this synthesis is based on Ruin’s autobiographical essays – especially the two autobiographical works, Rummet med de fyra fönstren (1940) [The Room with the Four Windows] and Hem till sommaren (1960) [Home for the Summer]. Chapter 1, “Introduction”, presents and dis-cusses the theoretical bases for the analysis. An important point of departure is the knowledge about interpretations in the hermeneutic tradition. Chapter 1 also introduces the major form of literary expression in Ruin’s writings – the autobiographical essay. In chapter 2, “Hans Ruin’s biography”, I only use external sources in order to paint a more auto-nomous picture of his life. Chapter 3, “The Beautiful and its Transformations”, introduces the essential features of Hans Ruin’s aesthetics. Det skönas förvandlingar (1962) [The Transformations of the Beautiful], which he considered his aesthetic testa-ment, is a natural stepping stone in this context. In chapter 4, “Diary – a source in the literary creation”, Hans Ruin’s diary is introduced, and the major role it played in his writings. The chapter thoroughly examines how Rummet med de fyra fönstren develops. In chapter 5, “On the outskirts of the Finno-Swedish archipelago”, it is time to study what Hans Ruin’s background meant to him. Hans Ruin’s first auto-biographical work Rummet med de fyra fönstren, and thereby also the idyll, is at the centre of chapter 6, “Idyll and Apocalypse”. Bachtin’s idea of “the unity of place” and Ellen Zetzel Lambert’s thoughts on “the pastoral elegy” are important analytical tools here. Chapter 7, “New Light over Härligö”, treats Hans Ruin’s second autobiographical work Hem till sommaren. The light now falling over Härligö is no longer so idyllic. The last chapter, “Conclusion”, binds the various threads of the dissertation together. The role of Härligö as a catalyst for the prose of place which Ruin writes is emphasised, as well as the significance of his Finno-Swedish identity.


  • Thomas Ek
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • General and comparative literature, Culture Critic, Second World War, pastoral elegy, unity of place, apocalypse, idyll, Jarl Hemmer, Arvid Mörne, diary, Finno-Swedish modernism, Yrjö Hirn, aesthetics, Hans Larsson, thematic criticism, Graham Good, autobiographical essay, hermeneutics, literature criticism, literary theory, Allmän och jämförande litteratur, litteraturkritik, litteraturteori, Scandinavian languages and literature, Nordiska språk (språk och litteratur)
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Jan 17
  • Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland
Print ISBNs951-583-098-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-01-17 Time: 10:15 Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Holmström, Roger Title: [unknown] Affiliation: Åbo Akademi ---