Marie Lindskov Hansen
Freie Universität Berlin
Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule
Autofiktion als literarisches und theoretisches Konstrukt
Marie Lindskov Hansen, geboren 1984 in Kopenhagen, studierte Dänische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (BA) an der Universität Kopenhagen und Europäische Literaturen (MA) an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Anschließend war sie am Nordeuropa-Institut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin als Lehrkraft der neueren skandinavistischen Literaturwissenschaft tätig.
Seit Oktober 2015 ist sie Stipendiatin der Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule für literaturwissenschaftliche Studien.
Marie Lindskov Hansen, født i 1984 i København, har en bachelorgrad i dansk sprog og litteratur fra Københavns Universitet og en mastergrad i europæisk litteratur fra Humboldt-Universität i Berlin. Herefter har hun fungeret som ekstern lektor i nyere skandinavisk litteratur på Nordeuropa-Institut på Humboldt-Universität i Berlin.
Siden oktober 2015 er hun indskrevet som PhD-stipendiat på Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies.
- Gastvorlesung 06.01.2020: Georg Brandes und der moderne Durchbruch. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Gastvorlesung 27.05.2019: Georg Brandes und der moderne Durchbruch. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Sommersemester 2015: Einführung in die skandinavistische Literaturwissenschaft (Nordeuropa-Institut, HU Berlin)
- Wintersemester 2014-15: Skandinavischer Modernismus im 20. Jahrhundert (Nordeuropa-Institut, HU Berlin)
- 06.05.2018: Vortrag "Everyday versus/equals Art" im Rahmen der Tagung "Everyday Matters: Writing Obscure Lives", Oxford Center for Life Writing, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
- 10.04.2017: Vortrag "Autobiographical Voices in Contemporary Scandinavian Poetry" im Rahmen der Konferenz "The Self in Verse. Exploring Autobiographical Poetry", University of Oxford - https://oxlifewriting.wordpress.com/blog/ & http://literaturwissenschaft-berlin.de/the-self-in-verse-exploring-autobiographical-poetry/
- 12.04.2016: Vortrag "Autofiktion als literarisches Konstrukt" im Rahmen des MA-Seminars "Autobiographien und Biographien im Wandel". Universität Wien
09.12.2014: At skrive sig selv – om begrebet autofiktion. Nordeuropa-Institut, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
“Autofiction in Global Perspective“ gefördert durch die OXFORD/BERLIN Research Partnership 2019 / 2020
Autofiktion / Autobiographie
Skandinavische Literaturen (DK / SE / NO) des 19., 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts
Titel: Die Wirklichkeit schreiben - autofiktionales Erzählen in den skandinavischen Gegenwartsliteraturen
--> Dissertation eingereicht am 30. Januar 2020
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Stefanie von Schnurbein (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Anita Traninger (Freie Universität Berlin)
Since the turn of the Millennium there has been a remarkable increase in the production of autobiographical and autofictional literature in Scandinavia. While there is (still) no critical consensus to what the term autofiction precisely designates, the oscillation between fact and fiction in autobiographical writings has emerged as one of the most favoured literary strategies when it comes to negotiating, (re)-constructing, and staging identity and individuality. The academic discussions about autofiction and autofictional writing in Scandinavia are mostly concerned with the opposed relations of fact/fiction, true/false, and novel/autobiography or with the mediatised performativity of the author in the public sphere. In this respect, the specific narrative practices of autofictional writing have taken a back seat in the academic exploration of autofiction.
In my thesis I am examining how autofictional writing is being set forth within the narration of the text, a thus far unexplored research field. I start by asking how and why the author is visibly and centrally naming him or herself by their own name in the text, and how the presence of the author is accentuated through the organisation of the narration. The analysis of the position of the author in his or her text enables us to see that the interplay of fact and fiction in the autobiographical text is predominantly conveyed by narrative strategies. The narrative presence of the author in the text entails specific self-reflexive practices, which can be identified through an increased use of metanarration, digressions, and other narrative transgressions of the extradiegetic and diegetic discourses that allow the actual author of the text to slip into his or her narration. The narrative roaming between the reality of the author and the narration that he or she is producing is utilised as a means of taking over the authority of the individual life story, to release it from the restrictions of a teleological birth to now framework, and to write autobiographical on own subjective and aesthetic terms. This narrative process comes with fictionalisation(s), which is accommodated by the act of writing – a core activity explicitly emphasised over and over again by the author in the text.
The author as communicative authority has in course of late 20th century literary criticism been announced dead and has since been veiled by abstract theoretical concepts like implied author. The author as a narrative instance has in this respect been barred from narratological analysis. With the increased emergence of autobiographical and autofictional literature in Scandinavia, where authors are staging themselves by their own names in their texts, we therefore must revise and reinstall the narrative function of the author in the text. By doing so, we are able to take the first steps towards detecting, mapping, and analysing autofictional strategies in the texts, and not merely circle around the texts with preconditioned ideas about fact and fiction, true and false, novel and autobiography.
Against this theoretical background I dive into the analysis of my primary literary examples. I start out by reaching back in time to August Strindberg’s Inferno (1897). Inferno not only counts as the culmination of his so-called Inferno-crises, it also marks a striking development in his exploration of his autobiographical self. Whereas the prior autobiographical works, such as Tjänstekvinnans son (1886) and Le plaidoyer d’un fou (1895), are narrated through alter egos, Strindberg inserts himself by his own name in Inferno. While the author and narrator August Strindberg is making claims to experiencing all sorts of infernal and occult occurrences, deeply rooted in his imagination, the narration is largely kept in present tense and in the French futur proche, thus turning his experiences into factual states experienced by the author-narrator here and now. The author inserting himself by name and narrating his autobiographical story in the present tense (and not in the past tense, which is characteristic for autobiographical narrations) causes a reversal of ontologies: what is imagined becomes realistic and experienced, and what is actually realistic in turn becomes ambigious.
After this flashback to the end of the nineteenth century, I turn my focus to three contemporary autobiographic novels, which in different manners display the aforementioned autofictional interplay between the reality of the author and the narration being produced.
I start by analysing the novel Myggor och tigrar [Mosquitos and Tigers] written in 2007 by the Swedish novelist Maja Lundgren. The release of Lundgren’s autobiographical novel caused heated debates in Swedish media due to the novel’s explicit exposures of well-known persons around the newspaper Aftonbladet as well as detailed claims of nepotism and male misuse of power in the art and cultural scene in Stockholm. Taking a closer look at the narrative position of the author in the text it becomes evident that Lundgren sets forth deeply complex and refined narrative techniques to blur the lines between actual and possible experiences. These techniques opens up the text as a literary space, where the reader cannot be certain whether the experiences of the author have de facto happened or whether they serve as (fictionalised) bricks in the autobiographical narration. In this sense, Lundgren continues an autobiographical narrative practice which we have seen a bit more than hundred years ago in August Strindberg’s Inferno and which we are now witnessing in various shapes and forms in contemporary Scandinavian literature.
My next example is the autobiographical novel project Min kamp [My Struggle] published between 2009 and 2011 by the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård. By mapping the narrative levels in the text, I come to the insight that the author, through his use of an extradiegetic point of narrating, is able to slip in and out of the actual diegetic story he is narrating. At the extradiegetic level, the author is able to relativize, reflect, and elaborate upon how he is writing his own autobiographical story. In the light of this reflexive narrative level, the story about the childhood, adolescence, and adult life of the person Karl Ove Knausgård becomes highly curated and fictionalised by the one actually telling the story – the author Karl Ove Knausgård. This way of narrating an autobiographical story thus turns autofictional, because the autobiographical not merely sets the foundation for the story, but is being deliberately utilised and thus fictionalised as a means to create a coherent account of the person writing the story.
My final analysis is centred on the novel Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet [The Skin Is the Elastic Covering That Encases the Entire Body] written by the Danish playwright, poet, and novelist Bjørn Rasmussen in 2011. The autobiographical novel sets forth a postmodern literary aesthetic, in which the autobiographical narration is formed through the montage of intertextual references to five different literary texts. By adapting the discourses of the alluded intertexts, Rasmussen implements his own autobiographical story into literary frameworks that have already been told, not by himself but by other authors. The instalment of the autobiographical self in prefabricated literary narratives and the take-over of the narrative discourses create a radical interplay with the actual autobiographical elements and the literary intertexts. By arranging the autobiographical story with help from intertextual elements, the reader becomes unable to judge whether the experiences actually derive from the autobiographical subject or from the referred intertexts. Through this autofictional narration, Rasmussen not only narrates his autobiographical story on fictionalised premises, but also constitutes his own life and thus himself on the basis of literature as such.
Through the analysis of the abovementioned texts by August Strindberg, Maja Lundgren, Karl Ove Knausgård and Bjørn Rasmussen, my PhD thesis answers the much-needed question about how language and narration are being utilised to veil, modify, and first and foremost combine fact and fiction in autobiographical texts. By drawing a tentative line from Strindberg to contemporary writers, I open up for a vast and so far scarcely researched area in Scandinavian literary studies: the development of modern autobiographical practices in Scandinavian literatures from the Modern Breakthrough to present day.
Lindskov Hansen, Marie: Haut – Werk – Sprache. Autofiktion und Intertextualität im Roman ›Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet‹ von Bjørn Rasmussen, in: Svetlana Efimova (Hrsg.): Autor und Werk. Wechselwirkungen und Perspektiven. Sonderausgabe #3 von Textpraxis. Digitales Journal für Philologie 2 (2018).
Lindskov Hansen, Marie: Tagungsbericht - "The Self in Verse. Exploring Autobiographical Poetry" https://literaturwissenschaft-berlin.de/the-self-in-verse-exploring-autobiographical-poetry/ (Deutsch)
Lindskov Hansen, Marie: Conference report - "The Self in Verse. Exploring Autobiographical Poetry" https://oxlifewriting.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/the-self-in-verse/ (English)