Väninnor, älskarinnor och goda styvmödrar : Kvinnliga vänskapsrelationer i tre svenska romaner 1836-1857

by Lappea, Maria

Abstract (Summary)
This study focuses on romantic friendship between women in three Swedish novels written between 1836 and 1857: Sophie von Knorring’s (1797–1848) Illusionerna (1836), Fredrika Bremer’s (1801–1865) En dagbok (1843) and Marie Sophie Schwartz’ (1819–1894) En fåfäng mans hustru (1857). Also, the connection between women and passion as well as the interesting occurrence of step- and foster mothers is looked upon in the study.The romantic friendship is freely expressed in these novels; love between women is neither presented as unnatural or unchaste. It both challenges the heterosexual matrix’ claim on intelligibility and its rules for how desire should be expressed. With the room of one’s own as a figure the romantic friendship upholds a special place in the text and can be presented both as an alternative to other relations and as an utopian reality to long for.The relationships between women and men in the novels are on the other hand presented as problematic and therefore, again, in conflict with the heterosexual matrix’ claim on naturalness. Passion in this form is potentially dangerous and must be controlled. Instead of the traditional view on the sexes an alternative model consisting of rational women and emotional men takes place. Love based on reason and friendship makes important components in the efforts made to solve the heterosexual problem. The equality these women long for in their relationships with men is despite these solutions not possible to combine with an artistic career. When the heterosexual couples unite the women must solely devote their life to husband and children.On the contrary of the image of the wicked stepmother these novels introduce the step- and foster mother as a heroine, capable of loving altruism. Relationships between women form strong networks in the text which defy the socially organized sexuality. Through these alliances and formations of alternative kinship systems the women initiate an escape from the patriarchal oppression and challenge the heterosexual norm which rules society.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Södertörns högskola

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:07/18/2007

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.