Humor i romantisk text. Om Jean Pauls estetik i svensk romantik: C.F. Dahlgrens Mollbergs epistlar (1820), C.J.L. Almqvists Amorina (1822) och C. Livijns Spader Dame (1825)
The three works analyzed here were published at the culmination of Swedish romanticism. The strange mixture of the high and the low, the sacred and the profane that is typical for them has been an interesting challenge for literary scholars. For instance, in older research one sometimes spoke of poor handwork, or bad taste of the writers or it was explained that these works were a stage between the end of romanticism and the beginning of realism. A common approach in the last years has been to leave such biographical and contextual discussions aside to investigate these semantic tensions as something typical of all forms of literary texts. However, the aim here has been to analyze some of the tension-filled passages in these works for their humor by using the cognitive humor theory of linguistics which describes the phenomenon as a bifurcated logical process – first the creation of discrepancy in the text being followed by the insight that the logical opposites may be related to each other when using the logic of the absurd. This analysis combines the approaches of the cognitive humor theory with the terminology and analytic model of Michael Riffaterre developed in his Semiotics of Poetry (1978), where he shares the theoretical views of the linguists but focuses on literary texts. The results of this analysis are in a second stage related to a contemporary discussion of humor, above all the stand taken by the German writer Jean Paul in his Vorschule der Ästhetik (1804) and demonstrated in his novels Titan (1800-1803) and Des Luftschiffers Giannozzo Seebuch (1801). The first step taken in the thesis shows that the tensions in the three chosen texts can be understood as deliberate, that is, as a form of humor, and that it can be said that these three texts share a common aesthetic. In opposition to the view often found in research that the texts are a transition from the romantic to realism the second comparative part of the thesis shows that this humoristic aesthetic in many ways is close to the discussion of humor and of Witz to be found in Jean Pauls Vorschule der Ästhetik. A fruitful result of this analysis is the important place Christianity takes in this humoristic aesthetic. This partly opens new fields for research in the functions of allusions in these romantic texts to the Old and New Testaments, but also in the role that emblems and the tradition of devotional literature play in these works.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; C. Livijn; C.F. Dahlgren; C.J.L. Almqvist; intertextuality; Michael Riffaterre; devotional literature; gnosticism; G.H. von Schubert; aesthetics; romanticism; Jean Paul; humor
Date of Publication:01/01/2008