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Ut ur sinnets labyrint. Om melankoli, konst och tinget i sig i Lotta Lotass Den svarta solen

Out of the Mind’s Maze. On Melancholy, Art, and the Thing in Itself in Lotta Lotass Den svarta solen


  • Linus Ljungström

Summary, in English

This thesis is about the (anti-)novel Den svarta solen (’The Black Sun’), one of the Swedish experimental author Lotta Lotass’ (b. 1964) most challenging works. It contains 340 texts, all describing different interiors in a monotonous and similar manner, which are arranged as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” gamebook. This turns the novel into a labyrinth, which the reader more or less literally can be said to enter.

The thesis describes the novel from an intermedial and narratological point of view, where focus is put on its descriptive and ekphrastic elements. Given that the novel consists almost entirely out of descriptions its relationship to the French nouveau roman in general, but Alain Robbe-Grillets Dans le labyrinthe (In the Labyrinth) in particular is also investigated.

The main purpose of this thesis is, however, to construct a possible reading that includes the hypertextual relations and themes suggested by the paratext of the novel, e.g. Peter Weiss’ Die Äesthetik des Widerstands (The Aesthetics of Resistance) and the three critiques by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and Critque of Judgement). The black sun of the title is a symbol of melancholy, also used in the same manner by Julia Kristeva in Soleil noir. Depréssion et mélancolie (Black Sun. Depression and Melancholia). By combining Kant’s transcendental idealism and Kristeva’s thoughts on melancholy in the reading of Lotass’ novel, the melancholy that the novel depicts is the response to the ‘existential claustrophobia’ that comes with the realization that we can never gain knowledge of anything outside ourselves, but where the end of the novel suggests that art and literature may offer a way out of the melancholic state and the metaphysic seclusion.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Lotta Lotass
  • Den svarta solen
  • Melancholy
  • Transcendental idealism
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Julia Kristeva
  • literary descriptions
  • ekphrasis
  • Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • nouveau roman


  • Anders Ohlsson (Professor)