Networked Novels. Spatiality in Contemporary Finland-Swedish Literature. In Conversation with Kristina Malmio

von Nordlitt. Skandinavistische Literaturforschung im Gespräch

Kristina Malmio, University of Helsinki, shares her research on local and global tendencies in Finland-Swedish literature with the help of two complex novels by Monika Fagerholm (The American Girl) and Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo (In Transit). We muse about the status of a privileged minority literature and discuss the shifting locations of centers and peripheries. We explore in-between-spaces and other metaphors of literary spaces and look at movements of novels and their characters between countries, continents and cultures. Finally, we are encouraged: Trust yourself! Literature takes you everywhere.


(00:00:31) Kristina Malmio’s Way to Literature Studies and Scandinavian Studies 
(00:05:00) The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland 
(00:09:21) Historical and Contemporary Finland-Swedish Literature
(00:18:10) Minor Literature and World Literature
(00:23:02) Introducing Monika Fagerholm and The American Girl
(00:30:45) Postmodern Literature and Kaleidoscopic Collaging
(00:37:32) Fagerholm’s Constructing of Space 
(00:34:48) Reconstructing the Belief in Narration   
(00:41:11) The Reception in the US
(00:48:00) The Polycentric and Networked Novel
(01:01:12) Fagerholm on the Scandinavian Literature Scene 
(01:04:43) Introducing Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo and In Transit
(01:14:13) The Chronotope of the Road and Bodily Experiences
(01:22:19) Anchoring in Space
(01:24:06) The Image of the North Pole Explorer
(01:29:33) Space in Contemporary Poetry 
(01:30:40) Advice to Student Self 
(01:31:43) An Announcement


  • Fagerholm, Monika: Den amerikanska flickan. Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag 2006.
    en: Fagerholm, Monika: The American Girl. New York: Other Press 2010.
    dt: Fagerholm, Monika: Das amerikanische Mädchen. München: Fahrenheit Verlag 2008.
  • Malmio, Kristina. “Fagerholm Goes Oprah: Minor Literature, Global Market, and Gender in Literary Exchange”. Ryal, Anka; Rönning, Anne Birgitte (eds.): Gender in Literary Exchange. New York: Routledge 2021. (Originally published in Nora 2017).
  • Malmio, Kristina: “Finland-Swedish minority literature: social, economic, cultural and literary aspects”. Laakso, Johanna (ed.): Ways of being in the world: Studies on minority literaturesCentral-European Uralic Studies 1. Wien: Praesens Verlag 2020, pp. 29‒47. 
  • Malmio, Kristina: “The miracle of the mesh. Global imaginary and ecological thinking in Ralf Andtbacka’s Wunderkammer”. In Malmio, Kristina; Kurikka, Kaisa (eds.): Contemporary Nordic Literature and Spatiality, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan 2020, p. 277–299.
  • Taivassalo, Hannele Mikaela: In Transit. Helsingfors: Förlaget 2016.

Further reading:

  • Bakhtin, Mikhail: The dialogic imagination four essays. Austin: University of Texas Press 1981.  
  • Damrosch, David; Rønne Moberg, Bergur: Ultraminor World Literatures. Leiden: Brill 2022.
  • Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix: “Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature: The Components of Expression”. In: New Literary History, Vol. 16, No. 3, On Writing Histories of Literature (Spring, 1985), pp. 591-608.
  • Fagerholm, Monika: Diva. Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag 1999.
  • Helle, Anna: “When Love and Death Embrace. Monika Fagerholm’s The American Girl and The Glitter Scene as Postmodern Melodrama”. In: Malmio, Kristina; Österlund, Mia (eds.): Novel Districts: Critical Readings of Monika Fagerholm. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society 2016, pp. 83–98.
  • Huber, Irmtraud: Literature after Postmodernism: Reconstructive Fantasies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2014.
  • Holt, Karen: “A Helsinki Whodunit”. In: The Oprah Magazine, April 2010.
  • Lindén, Zinaida: “An Author’s View, To Be a Bridge between Cultures”. In: Grönstand, Heidi Grönstrand; Huss, Markus; Kauranen, Ralf (eds.): The Aesthetics and Politics of Linguistic Borders, Multilingualism in Northern European Literature. New York: Routledge 2019, pp. 130–138.
  • Mazzarella, Merete: Det trånga rummet: en finlandssvensk romantradition. Helsingfors: Söderström 1989.
  • Morton, Timothy: Ecology without nature: rethinking environmental aesthetics. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press 2009. 
  • N.N.: “Reading Questions For the American Girl”. In: The Oprah Magazine, April 2010.
  • Schnurbein, Stefanie v. (2024, 8. Februar): “Entertaining Intertexts. Henrik Ibsen’s Use of Popular Theatre. In Conversation with Ellen Rees“. Experiment Geisteswissenschaft.
  • Prieto, Eric: Literature, Geography, and the Postmodern Poetics of Place. New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2012. 
  • Taivassalo, Hannele Mikaela: Kärlek, kärlek, hurra, hurra. Helsingfors: Söderström 2005.
  • Taivassalo, Hannele Mikaela: Svulten. Helsingfors: Schildts & Söderströms 2013.
  • Tidigs, Julia: “What Have They Done to My Song? Recycled Language in Monika Fagerholm’s The American Girl”. In: Malmio, Kristina; Kurikka, Kaisa (eds.): Contemporary Nordic Literature and Spatiality. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan 2020, pp. 185–207.
  • Walkowitz, Rebecca: Born Translated. The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature. New York: Columbia University Press 2015.
  • Westphal, Bertrand: “Belonging to the Periphery of the Planet”. In: le Juez, Brigitte; Richardson, Bill (eds.): Spaces of Longing and Belonging. Leiden: Brill 2019, pp. 17–30.