Jag spelar er förväntan : självdramatisering i Paul Anderssons diktverk Berättarna

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Being one of the central poets in the Swedish neo-Romantic movement of the early 1950's, Paul Andersson (1930-1976) was surrounded by a bright authorial aura even before he published his first poems at the age of 21. In 1953, Andersson's reputation became nationwide when the influential poet and critic Karl Vennberg declared him to be a genius. Three years later, Andersson had published his last book of poetry. In 1959, he left Sweden to lead a difficult life in France and Italy. His silent years in exile have increased his legendary status in the history of Swedish literature.

This dissertation explores the relationship between the authorial figure of Paul Andersson and his most extensive work, Berättarna. Kantat i fyra partier för kör och soli (The storytellers. Cantata in four parts for choir and soli) from 1955. By examining the different ways in which the figure of the poet is aesthetically present in the poem, the study attempts to picture a central dimension of Andersson's poetry as a whole. From the single perspective of Andersson's poem, the dissertation also aims at describing the literary climate in Sweden in the mid-1950's.

The four storytellers represent different aesthetic positions. In the prologue, the poetic drama is introduced with allusions to 19th century Romanticism, the poetry of the Swedish 1940's, and the work of Arthur Rimbaud. The first storyteller is an outcast whose words propose a cosmopolitan poetics of experience and exile. The second protagonist personifies an escapist attitude towards life and literature. The third part of the poem marks a step towards a realistic poetic ideal, and the last storyteller personifies a combination of social engagement, individualism, and an aesthetics of martyrdom.

Berättarna successively develops into a declaration of a new aesthetic ideal. The poem's central characteristic, however, is diversity. In Paul Andersson's self-dramatization, the ambiguity of identity and the aesthetic dimension of public reputation are used to create a multilayered depiction of an uncompromising literary endeavour.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • Oscar Wilde, Bo Setterlind, Romanticism, Arthur Rimbaud, Birgitta Stenberg, Romantic poetics, biography, authorial legend, Grupp Metamorfos, neo-Romanticism, Swedish 1950's, Swedish 20th century poetry, General and comparative literature, literature criticism, literary theory, Allmän och jämförande litteratur, litteraturkritik, litteraturteori
Translated title of the contributionI Play Your Expectation : Self-dramatization in Paul Andersson's Poem Berättarna
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 Sep 28
  • Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen, Lunds universitet
Print ISBNs91-970946-0-9
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-09-28 Time: 11:15 Place: Edens hörsal, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Schiöler, Niklas Title: [unknown] Affiliation: [unknown] ---