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En välsignelse på jorden : Det goda äktenskapet som normaltillstånd och mål i tre romaner från 1860-talet

By Moa Holmqvist


The aim of this study is to examine marriage as something both desirable and normal in three popular novels from the 1860s about marriage: Rosa Carlén’s Agnes Tell: en äktenskapshistoria (1860), Marie Sophie Schwartz’s Alma eller De moderna äktenskapen (1860) and Sara Pfeiffer’s Aurora Trampe (1867). Using a theoretical perspective from Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, I have analysed the novels as being producers of, and resistance against, norms. The good marriage is partly depicted as a utopian vision in the novels, which therefore functions as fantasies for the readers. But it is also depicted as a realistic possibility. Though difficult to achieve, the main characters reach the goal through individual improvement towards correct behaviour. The question for the main characters is not whether they are going to marry or not, but how to make their marriages good ones. Other options than marriage are ignored or described as faulty. At the same time, alternatives and resistance to the description of the good marriage and the roles of husband and wife are shown through distortions and discords. This can reveal the good marriage as a constructed ideal. Failure to conform to the expected roles and people standing outside the marital discourse, are ridiculed and described as deviant; but the mere existence of these failures makes the ideal seem less natural

Topics: äktenskap, normalitet, heterosexualitet, skev, Butler, Foucault, Literature, Litteraturvetenskap
Publisher: Huddinge : Institutionen för genus, kultur och historia
Year: 2007
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