The Lost Tales of Eva Wigström


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Publication Paper in proceeding
Title The Lost Tales of Eva Wigström
Author Sundmark, Björn
Date 2010
English abstract
For many years the Swedish pioneer folklorist and writer Eva Wigström (1832-1914) tried in vain to publish a collection of folktales from Skåne, in the south of Sweden. The reason why these tales had to wait for a hundred before they were finally printed and published (1985) is, as I will show in this paper, a key example of “bok culture from below.” Wigström had collected the tales during extensive walking expeditions throughout Skåne in 1879-80. The inspiration to do so came from Denmark. At Askov Folk High School she jad met F L Grundtvig and H F Feilberg the previous year, and they had encouraged her to collect Skåne folklore (partly because they wanted comparative material). Her failure with this book is remarkable in the light of her previous success. Wigström had already published literary sketches of peasant life as well as more scholarly collections of ballads and folk customs; she had also contributed to the children’s periodical Linnéa. Why then was this fairy tale collection effectively buried in publishing houses and archives for so many years? The paper explores a number of possibilities. Wigström, who herself was of peasant stock, did not want an embellished publication with illustrations and sanitized language, catering to the well-to-do. If she had accepted this the book would have been published promptly. Neither did she want a narrow scholarly publication; her stated aim with the book was to reach the general reading public. Another complicating factor is her gender. She complains in some letters that if she had been a man, the book would not have been so offensive. While providing examples from the fairy tale collection, the paper sets out to explore why it was suppressed for so long.
Book Culture from Below – The 18th Annual SHARP Conference (17-21 Aug, 2010 : Helsingfors, Finland)
Language eng (iso)
Subject Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
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