nordlitt: Shooting Star. Fredrika Bremer in Sweden and Abroad. In Conversation with Åsa Arping

von Nordlitt. Skandinavistische Literaturforschung im Gespräch

nordlitt goes abroad and starts recording in English. Our first guest, Åsa Arping, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, introduces Fredrika Bremer, an international celebrity as well as a pioneer of the domestic novel and of feminism in Sweden. We look at plain heroines, writing novels and baking cake. We consider the blurred lines between writing, translating, and editing. And we speculate about the use of Bremer’s work in establishing an ideology of Viking heritage and white supremacy in the USA.

(00:56) Why a Scandinavian Literary Podcast?
(03:05) Introducing Åsa Arping
(10:50) Fascination and Obsession with Fredrika Bremer
(14:17) Introducing Fredrika Bremer
(19:15) Genre and Gender
(24:33) Establishment and Limits of the Domestic Novel
(26:02) Familjen H***
(29:55) Transitions Between Romanticism and Realism
(31:59) Power, Love, and Mad Women in Familjen H***
(43:05) Hertha as Bremer’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin
(51:08) Bremer’s Significance for Women’s Emancipation in Sweden
(55:44) How Literature Can Change Society
(59:54) The Destiny of Translated Literature
(01:06:26) Grannarna/The Neighbors
(01:11:40) What Does Bremer’s Work Mean to a (White) American Audience?
(01:17:08) Progressive Literature, Dark Ideology and Christianity
(01:25:01) ’Exoticizing’ Sweden in The U.S.
(01:33:58) Distribution of Novels
(01:41:20) Manuscripts and Critical Editions
(01:48:20) Blurred Lines Between Writing, Translation and Editing
(01:53:45) What Advice Would You Give Your Student-Self?


  • Bremer, Fredrika: Famillen H***. Stockholm: Svenska Vitterhetssamfundet, 2000.
  • Bremer, Fredrika: Hertha. Stockholm: Svenska Vitterhetssamfundet, 2016.
  • Arping, Åsa: “Den anspråksfulla blygsamheten”. In: Tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, Årgång 124. Stockholm: Svenska Litteratursällskapet, 2003.
  • Arping, Åsa: “The Miss Austen of Sweden”. In: Swedish Women’s writing on Export. Göteborg: LIR.skrifter.10, 2019.

further reading:

  • Barad, Karen: “Posthumanist Performativity”. In: Bath, Corinna; Bauer, Yvonne und Bock von Wülfingen, Bettina (Hg.): Materialität denken. Bielefeld: transcript, 2005.
  • Damrosch, David: What Is World Literature?. Princeton University Press, 2003.
  • Gilbert, Sandra und Gubar, Susan: The Madwoman in the Attic. Yale University Press, 2000.
  • Holm, Birgitta: Fredrika Bremer och den borgerliga romanens födelse. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1981.
  • v. Schnurbein, Stefanie: “Norn, Vampire, Female Christ”. In: Urban, Hugh B.  und Johnson, Greg (Hg): Irreverence and the Sacred. Critical Studies in the History of Religions. Oxford University Press, 2019.