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Närvarande i sitt språk: Om Erik Rosenbergs Fåglar i Sverige
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Berättande, liv, mening)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4940-990X
2017 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Pär-Yngve Andersson, Närvarande i sitt språk: Om Erik Rosenbergs Fåglar i Sverige (Present in his Language: About Erik Rosenberg’s Birds in Sweden)

Erik Rosenberg’s field guide Fåglar i Sverige (Birds in Sweden) was first released in 1953, and has since then been published in several revised editions. In 2010 it was published once again, but this time without pictures and maps of distribution, just focusing on the originality and value of the text itself.   

Reviewers of the book have recognized what they call literary values, but no extensive study of what this really means has been carried out. The aim of this study is to describe the characteristics of Rosenberg’s language and style, and thereby discern what separates his field guide from others.   

An introductory survey of some important predecessors, mainly belonging to what has been called the Linnéan tradition in Swedish nature writing, is followed by a section where I discuss the difficult question of how to describe what we really mean when we talk about concepts like “literature” and “literary art”. The main sections are devoted to analyses of Fåglar i Sverige, including close readings of numerous examples from the text.     

Rosenberg’s prose is rich and varied, and includes short narrative passages. He avoids lists of many very short, descriptive phrases, which are so typical of other field guides. He often describes birds in their environment, and there are many scenic parts in which we can feel the author’s own presence and his ability to create a lyrical mood, even as he stays on topic. Depictions are often charged with feeling, and even botanical names or nouns describing limited or uncommon kinds of biotopes, can produce poetic effects in their textual contexts. At the same time, readers may feel as if they are also getting firsthand information.   

A personal use of language, for example a great many uncommon similes concerning bird calls and appearances, is characteristic of Fåglar i Sverige. Transcriptions of bird calls are frequently used, and Rosenberg is attentive to acoustic details in his descriptive language. It is possible to describe some of his strategies as a kind of “foregrounding”, although his primary aims are communicative and pedagogical, entirely in line with the genre expectations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Ellerströms förlag, 2017. , p. 120
Series
Eureka/Ellerströms akademiska ; 61
Keywords [en]
Erik Rosenberg, Fåglar i Sverige, field guide, ornithology, nature writing, enargeia, foregrounding, literary style, poetic function
National Category
Humanities and the Arts General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-62590ISBN: 978-91-7247-491-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-62590DiVA, id: diva2:1157454
Available from: 2017-11-16 Created: 2017-11-16 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Pär-Yngve

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