Osannolika händelser och den svenska realistiska romanen: Ett estetiskt och existentiellt bekymmer

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis deals with improbable events in the realistic novel. The overarching
idea is that realism is distinguished by dealing with improbable events on the
basis of a double perspective: both as an existential and as an aesthetic problem.

As an existential problem the improbable events of narrative fiction represent
the constantly present possibility of an unexpected and unforeseen event suddenly occurring and changing our lives in the most dramatic manner, and this
without any person being responsible for it. These improbable events concern
key moral and ethical values, such as responsibility, freedom, power, and justice.

When this existential condition is portrayed in realism by means of improbable
events another problem appears, an aesthetic concern. Improbable events risk
(unintentionally) breaking the illusion of reality and giving the impression that
the author has resorted to a makeshift solution in order to lead the story in the
desired direction at the expense of the narrative’s mimetic credibility.

The thesis’ first part presents a theoretical model that distinguishes between
different kinds of improbable events: conventional improbable events, parodic
improbable events, and realistic improbable events. After that follows detailed
analyses of six Swedish novels – of how they, in different ways, struggles with the
problem of improbable events – covering the period 1830–1971.

In the conclusion it is suggested that this double-pronged problem is a historically limited phenomenon that may be said to have played out its role.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Humanities


  • Swedish fiction, causality, tellability, coincidence, chance, improbability, fiction-technique, realism, 20th century, 19th century, Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, Fredrika Bremer, Victoria Benedictsson, Hjalmar Söderberg, Willy Kyrklund, Per Gunnar Evander
Translated title of the contributionImprobable Events and the Swedish Realistic Novel: An Aestethic and Existential Problem
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2016 Nov 19
  • Makadam förlag
Print ISBNs978-91-7061-222-0
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7061-722-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 21
Publication categoryResearch

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