Problems of Prose Modernism and Frigidity in Stina Aronson’s “The Fever Book” and Edith Øberg’s “Man in Darkness”

Ellen ReesArizona State University
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Fall 2001), 237-252

This essay begins by pointing out the glaring omission of experimental prose and women writers in histories of literary modernism in Scandinavia during the interwar years. Moreover, none of the most radical Scandinavian experimental prose by women has been translated into English. Taking up the cases of Swedish author Stina Aronson and Norwegian author Edith Øberg, the article explores the ways in which these writers undercut mainstream Scandinavian literary objectification of women and binarization of them as either intellectual or sensual, but never both. The essay examines further how these writers explicitly problematize the notion of female sexual frigidity in works that are highly self-reflective regarding their status as texts. The article traces the confluence of desire and writing in texts to the reformation of the European modernist canon. These Scandinavian women played a central and highly creative role in the cultural dialogue of modernism and, in particular, in conceptualizing and producing Scandinavian prose modernism.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]