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C. J. L. Almqvists slottskrönika och det indirekta skrivsättet

Comparative Literature
Publication Date
  • Literature Criticism
  • Literary Theory
  • General And Comparative Literature
  • Narratology
  • Intertextuality
  • The Sublime
  • Metafiction
  • Ambiguity
  • Hermeneutic Code
  • Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan
  • Ghosts
  • Roland Barthes
  • Enigma
  • Unknown Parentage
  • Allmän Och Jämförande Litteratur
  • Litteraturkritik
  • Litteraturteori
  • Scandinavian Languages And Literature
  • Nordiska Språk (Språk Och Litteratur)
  • Languages And Literatures
  • Design
  • History
  • Philosophy


The subject of this thematic and narrative-technical study is the Swedish author Carl Jonas Love Almqvist's (1793-1866) slottskrönika (castle chronicle) and the indirect way of writing. The castle chronicle comprises the novels Jaktslottet (The Hunting Castle; 1833), Hinden (The Hind; 1833) and Baron Julius K* (1835), all of which are included in Almqvist's great collective work, Törnrosens bok (The Briar-rose Book). Almqvist's way of writing is described with the help of his essay Om två slags Skrifsätt (On two kinds of writing; 1833), which later was introduced into his fictional piece Dialog om Sättet att sluta Stycken (Dialogue on how to end a piece; 1835). Here Almqvist delineates his aesthetic ideal, the indirect way of writing and the aesthetics of the unfinished. The author does not express everything explicitly, nor perhaps even what is most important, but expects the co-creative reader to complete the text in accordance with its implications. The enigmas and problems in the castle chronicle associated with this kind of writing are highlighted in this thesis. The first chapter is an examination of one of the typical motifs in Almqvist's oeuvre, the question of the mysterious parentage in Hinden and Baron Julius K*, contributing to the thematic unity of these novels. The problem of Julianus's lineage is analyzed in terms of Roland Barthes's hermeneutic code, the voice of truth in the text, but two completely different stories emerge on account of the narrative ambiguity of the text concerning the identity of Julianus's father. The second chapter is a study of the ghost motif in Hinden and Baron Julius K*, and especially of the confusion of the living and the dead. The enigmatic final scene in Hinden is interpreted in the light of this motif characteristic of Almqvist's fiction. The ambiguous scenes in the novels are given a natural explanation, but a supernatural explanation is also possible. In the third and fourth chapter the different forms of self-reflection in the castle chronicle are examined. A possible solution to the problem of the apparently omitted novel promised by aunt Eleonora in her story outline in Hinden is that the remainder of Hinden and Baron Julius K* constitute a free performance of the outline. What Friedrich Schlegel calls a symmetry of opposites, a principle of composition typical of Almqvist's oeuvre, can be observed in the trilogy. Its explicit and implicit aesthetic views and ideals are analyzed. In the fifth chapter the intertextual background of the castle chronicle is explored: the writings of the Swedish novelist Fredrik Cederborgh, Johann Caspar Lavater, Laurence Sterne, Emanuel Swedenborg, William Shakespeare, Walter Scott and Lord Byron.

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