The Bullerby Books and Tradition

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title The Bullerby Books and Tradition
Author(s) Sundmark, Björn
Date 2007
English abstract
The Bullerby Books and Tradition The Bullerby series (1947, 1949, 1952) is as a whole one of Lindgren’s most autobiographical narratives, and, among Swedes, one of the best loved. But the attitude towards “Bullerby” has undergone interesting permutations over time. Today, “Bullerby” is frequently seen as a regressive wish-fulfiment fantasy. But this was not how the books were regarded when they were first published. This is borne out by an analysis of the early reception of the books, and of references made to “Bullerby” in recent years. As I see it, Bullerby sets up an alternative vision of the good society to that provided by modernity, and thus recuperates a past that at the time of writing was being repressed and written out of history, whereas today it has become the received, idealised story of our forebears. Lindgren gets away with this by tapping into the farmhouse story, a genre which in Sweden, at that time, bore the (nationalistic and didactic) hallmarks of Anna Maria Roos’s Sörgården and In Önnemo, published some four-five decades earlier and widely used as compulsory school reading. Lindgren stretches the generic boundaries set by Roos. She modernizes the genre; indeed, Bullerby is not untouched by “modernist” ideas. Yet, at the same time, Bullerby carries with it a critique of the modern project - a postmodern attitude of sorts. This complexity, I believe, will continue to fascinate readers.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) astrid lindgren
Humanities/Social Sciences
children's literature
Note Föredraget hölls vid Astrid Lindgren Centennial Conference 30-31 maj på Svenska Barnboksinstitutet i Stockholm.
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