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To what should we compare Lotta Lotass' novel Den svarta solen?: A discussion of narratology from the standpoint of comparative literature
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1267-0031
2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Den svarta solen (The Black Sun, 2009) by the Swedish writer Lotta Lotass consists of three hundred and forty disarranged paragraphs, which in a monotone, adjective-laden, impersonal way describe the interiors of corridors and rooms in a wartime mansion. No meaning or unity is ascribed to the encountered objects, and when human characters show up in the field of vision they are presented in the same style as everything else. It actually seems that language itself is at the center of the text, rather than human experiences. Each paragraph ends with a numbered arrow or several arrows pointing to other paragraphs, making the novel a hypertext where the reader slithers her way through a labyrinth. That “The Black Sun” in the title is an occult symbol, often associated with nazism, makes one wonder if the labyrinth is indeed shaped after that symbol. To make the novel even more intriguing, a paratext says that it is based on the critique of judgment by Immanuel Kant. It thus has contact points with the philosopher’s notion of disinterestedness. Kant’s concept could perhaps be said to be a part of the structuring principle of Den svarta solen by way of the novel’s decontextualized descriptions. Now, in this paper I am not per se interested in making a complete interpretation of Lotass’ text. Instead I will discuss the value of narrative, as defined by for example Gerald Prince (2003), as a point of comparison when analyzing texts like this. The discussion can be said to concern narratology from the perspective of comparative literature. From this perspective, I hold, one may either argue how a text resembles a certain structure (e.g. Frye 1957) or how particular works skid in relation to that structure (e.g. Genette 1980). Since even texts like Den svarta solen can be understood by being related to some sort of structure, I suggest that it can be of value not to adopt narrative as a self-evident point of comparison in the analysis of novels. Lotass’ work is more than – or perhaps not at all – narrative, and more than – or perhaps not at all – a traditional novel. Perhaps it does something completely else than “telling a story,” for example fulfills a conceptual idea. An adequate point of comparison would then be conceptual art.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-65797OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-65797DiVA, id: diva2:1190545
Conference
5th International Conference of the European Narratology Network (ENN5), Narrative and Narratology: Metamorphosing the Structures: ISSN Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, September 13-15, 2017
Available from: 2018-03-14 Created: 2018-03-14 Last updated: 2018-03-19Bibliographically approved

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Sandberg, Tommy

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