SCANDINAVIAN R5A, Section 2: Feminist Utopias and Imagined Worlds in Nordic Literature

MWF 8-9 , Evans 7. Instructor: Anna Tomi

Units: 4

A feminist hero teaches children to revolt. A neurotic widow disappears into a world of fantasy, losing the border between the real and the imaginary, as well as between herself and others. A poet longs for a land that is not. Teenage girls envision a queendom of their own, where reality is subject to fabrication, and the act of story-telling makes the world go round. From Modernist poetry to contemporary prose, Scandinavian women writers have sought solace in imagined worlds when reality proves disappointing, and turned to the phantasmal when lived experience falls short. Do these utopian modes of self-projection offer a safe place from the oppressive reality, or do they rather emphasize the dystopian nature of the everyday? How does the description of literary minds relate to the feminist project? Is imagination—as described in literature or literary texts in themselves—escapistic or a realm potent with dynamism?


With these questions in mind, this course invites students to think about imagination as a feminist strategy that bridges what is real and what is possible.This course will explore the works of Nordic women writers of diverse genres and styles from Modernism to the present day. With these texts as a common terrain, students will gain understanding of relevant literary concepts as well as develop skills in critical reading. Class discussions and exercises will help students in expressing and structuring their thinking in writing. The emphasis will be placed in the process of editing a first draft into an argument.


All texts will be made available in translation.

R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.