Shining a Light on Eyvind Johnson’s Sidelined Novel: Nittonhundrasjutton (1930-31): Wartime and Modernism on the Margins

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Abstract

The article offers a re-assessment of a little-known novel by Eyvind Johnson, Nittonhundrasjutton, which was published purely in periodical form and has received very limited critical attention hitherto. The article approaches the novel through the theoretical lens of the widening and softening tendencies that characterise current understandings of the field of modernist literature. The appreciation of Johnson’s novel is informed, furthermore, by new insights into the role of interwar modernism in registering and responding to the afterlife of war as well as the spectre of a future war. The article argues that the sidelining of the novel in the reception of Johnson’s work is attributable more to its unusual publication mode than to any lack of artistic merit. After providing perspectives on the circumstances that surrounded Johnson’s creation of the novel, the article goes on to substantiate and scrutinise the novel’s modernist display of innovative temporalities and spatialities as well as its satirical sophistication. The article concludes that the novel deserves recognition for its original depiction of the fractured reality of war time as it is lived and felt thousands of kilometres from the core war zone.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Scandinavian Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • peripheral modernism
  • critical futurity
  • interwar
  • First World War
  • periodical
  • Eyvind Johnson
  • 'soft' modernism theory

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