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Jimmy Vulovic


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Ensamhet och gemenskap i förvandling - Vägar genom Eyvind Johnsons och Rudolf Värnlunds mellankrigsromaner


  • Jimmy Vulovic

Summary, in English

The purpose of this thesis is to study how the Swedish working-class authors, and close friends, Eyvind Johnson (1900-1976) and Rudolf Värnlund (1900-1945) during the interwar period portray the individual and collectives of different kinds. The studied novels are Eyvind Johnson’s Timans och rättfärdigheten (1925; Timans and righteousness), Bobinack (1932), Romanen om Olof (1934-1937; The novel about Olof), and Rudolf Värnlund’s Vandrare till intet (1926; Wanderer to nothingness), De frias bojor (1931; The bonds of the free) and Hedningarna som icke hava lagen (1936; The Heathens who have not law).

Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu both form and content of the novels are understood in relation to the authors’ journey from the proletarian ranks into the world of modernistic literature. Their social journey is mapped out mainly through the authors’ extensive correspondence, and is understood as being of great importance to their recurrent portrayal of loneliness and community during the interwar period. Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope is another central theoretical perspective in the thesis. The chronotopes of the road, the staircase, the threshold and the place for meals are frequently used by both authors to portray the individual’s relation to different collectives. Among other diligently used narrative technical devices associated with the urge to focus on the relation between aloneness and community, is the one of giving perspectives themselves great significance and the one of the flaneur motif.

An important dividing line between the two authorships is the degree of presence of the narrators’ voices. This presence is more often salient in Rudolf Värnlund’s novels from the 1930s than in Eyvind Johnson’s. This difference is an expression of Rudolf Värnlund’s more pronounced wish to portray, from the beginning of the 1930’s, the individual’s affinity with the working-class collective. Another way of putting this is that his narrators during this period has a need, by way of analysis and comments, to clearly express a discourse – that is, that the voices for example states the limits for what is right and wrong, true and false, beautiful and ugly – in order to formulate a collective. Eyvind Johnson, on the other hand, devotes the 1930s to the individual. Thus he often adopts, although not always, the perspective of the individual characters. The final chapter discusses these aspects of the authorships in relation to Swedish working-class literature and Swedish literature in general during the interwar period.


  • Litteraturvetenskap








Carlsson Bokförlag


  • Languages and Literature


  • Rudolf Värnlund
  • modernism
  • identity
  • individual
  • collective
  • loneliness
  • class struggle
  • community
  • Eyvind Johnson
  • working-class literature
  • flâneur
  • narratology
  • chronotope
  • perspective




  • Per Erik Ljung


  • ISBN: 978-91-7331-233-2


14 februari 2009




Hörsalen, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12


  • Magnus Nilsson (Lecturer)