SCANDINAVIAN 120: The Scandinavian Novel: Intrigue, Murder, and Madness

MWF 12-1 , 206 Dwinelle. Instructor: Monica Hidalgo

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Arts & Literature

Plotting dwarfs, crazed lovers, megalomaniacs, and femmes fatales – these are but a few of the characters we will encounter as we examine the haunting narratives of classic Scandinavian novels of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as suspenseful modern Scandinavian crime fiction.

What sets these works apart is their ability to simultaneously tell complex stories about psychologically enigmatic characters, while at the same time raising challenging and even disturbing ethical quandaries. A guiding theme of the class will be to try to understand what it is about the formal structure of the novel that enables it to so effectively draw in readers to the ethical dilemmas faced by its characters. We will explore this theme reading classics such as Jacobsen’s Niels Lyhne, Hamsun’s Hunger, Söderberg’s Doctor Glas, Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf, and Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

Hamsun, Knut. Hunger. Translated by Robert Bly. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0374525286
Høeg, Peter. Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Translated by Tiina Nunnally. Reprint edition. New York: Delta, 1995. ISBN-13: 9780385315142
Jacobsen, Jens Peter. Niels Lyhne. Translated by Tiina Nunnally. Penguin Classics, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0143039815
Lagerkvist, Pär. The Dwarf. Translated by Alexandra Dick. New York: Hill and Wang, 1958. ISBN-13: 978-0374521356
Söderberg, Hjalmar. Dr. Glas. Translated by Paul Bitten Austin. Anchor, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0385722674

*Additional readings will be made available in a course reader or bCourses.

Prerequisites: None. The course and readings are in English.