SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 1: The Haunting Past: Romantic Revivals in Early Twentieth-Century Scandinavian Literature

MWF 8-9 , 179 Dwinelle. Instructor: Isobel Boles

Units: 4

This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

This course will focus on the works of three Scandinavian authors in the early twentieth century who began incorporating themes of magic, forbidden love, and the Nordic past into their writing. We will explore selected works of Selma Lagerlöf, Sigrid Undset, and Karen Blixen, as well as some of their influences from folklore, medieval sagas of the Icelanders, Scandinavian Romantic literature, and the Scandinavian Gothic. These stories raise the questions of how the past is reimagined and repurposed by later generations, and how ideas of the supernatural have changed through time. All texts will be read in translation.

Students will complete writing assignments and practice research techniques in this course. Focus will be placed on improving writing style, grammatical skills, argument construction, and editing practices. Students will also become familiar with selecting secondary sources and engaging with academic articles. At the end of the semester, students will produce research projects designed to help them learn how to write and research at the university level.


The Treasure. Selma Lagerlöf.  ISBN: 978-1406934878

Gunnar’s Daughter. Sigrid Undset. ISBN: 978-0141180205

Seven Gothic Tales. Karen Blixen. ISBN: 978-0679736417

Other texts in course reader and on bCourses

Prerequisite:  Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent.  Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.