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Keywords: trickster, menippea, mythological novel, modernism, Swedish literature, Pär Lagerkvist, Eyvind Johnson, Mikhail Bakhtin, Carl Jung, Paul Radin.
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Andreichuk K.R. Trickster in Modernist Swedish Literature (Based on Pär Lagerkvist’s Novel The Dwarf). Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 1, pp. 160–175. (In Russ.)
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-1-160-175

Author: Ksenya R. Andreichuk
Information about the author:

Ksenya R. Andreichuk, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: January 08, 2019
Published: March 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №1
Department: World Literature
Pages: 160-175
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-1-160-175
UDK: 821.113.6
BBK: 83.3(4Шве)6


The article examines the role of the trickster in the modernist Swedish mythological novel. The analysis is mainly based on Pär Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf; I discuss other novels and short stories, such as Lagerkvist’s Barabbas, The Sybil, Pilgrim at Sea, and “The Eternal Smile” as well as Eyvind Johnson’s Return to Ithaca to illustrate the repeatability of certain trickster’s features in the literature of Swedish modernism. Modernist trickster has not been hitherto thoroughly studied, that is why the methodology of the article is complex. It combines Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes with Paul Radin’s and D.A. Gavrilov’s methodology employed to analyze the trickster’s folklore origins. M.M. Bakhtin’s terms are also employed but with reservations, because Swedish modernist novels, while sharing some features of the menippea, do not develop a carnivalesque worldview. The article demonstrates that Lagerkvist’s Dwarf, Barabbas, Ahasuerus and Giovanni, as well as Johnson’s Odysseus are indeed tricksters; however, they are very different from their predecessors in folklore, ancient, and medieval literature. The concluding part points out three main features of these new modernist tricksters: they are no longer funny or entertaining, they are selfreflective, and they are philosophers: not only do they help the authors to voice their ideas but they themselves go on a quest, seeking the answers to eternal questions.


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