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I ideologiernas och Guds skugga. Hagar Olssons litteratur- och kulturkritik i ett idéhistoriskt perspektiv


  • Madeleine Person

Summary, in English

This study intends to place the literary and cultural criticism of the Finland-Swedish writer and critic Hagar Olsson during the period 1918 to 1948 in the context of the history of ideas in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe and America at the time. While doing so she appears at the frontline of the modernist movement in Swedish literature, both as a critic and a writer, that which is often neglected in Swedish Literary historical presentations. She also appears as a successor in the Nordic “kulturradikal” as well as protestant tradition. I show her important position in Finland-Swedish letters and research during the 20th century as opposed to in Sweden, while in German and American literary research she is considered Swedish on the basis of her mothertongue. The question of definition of a national canon is discussed, based on the concept of cultural-geographic/linguistic unity as opposed to national.
After highlighting key moments of her wide-ranging literary criticism and strong presence in Swedish media in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, I review three representative essays from the 20’s, the 30’s and the 40’s. I end with some glimpses of cultural criticism in Swedish media during the period by her Swedish colleagues to argue her strong connection and participation, even authority, in the literary and cultural debate of the time. Any scholarly construction of Swedish and Scandinavian modernism that does not include Hagar Olsson ignores one of the deepest struggling voices and experiences adding to the on-going discussion what modernity and modernism might imply and mean.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • cultural criticism canon
  • literary criticism
  • modernism
  • modernity


  • Paul Tenngart (PhD)