Queer(ing) Scandinavian Literature

World famous writers like Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) and Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen (1885-1962) have proven to be gold mines for queer explorations. Andersen’s sexuality has been a hot potato for Danish literary scholars who for more than a century have struggled with the idea that the famous fairy tales might also be tales by a famous fairy. Norway experienced a similar, but somewhat smaller “war” concerning the sexuality of poet and writer of children’s books Alf Prøysen (1914-1970). Still, Prøysen is only one of a number of Norwegian writers dealing with the issue of homosexuality in the 20th century. After introductions to the histories of Norwegian and Danish gay literature the two speakers will discuss their positions and participation in the sexual wars of the Scandinavian literary canon.

Per Esben Svelstad is a PhD student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, currently a visiting researcher at UW Madison. He is presently working on a thesis on gay Norwegian poet Åsmund Sveen (1910-1963) who became a top Nazi during WWII.

Dag Heede is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark and a Visiting Scholar at CLAGS, CUNY. He has published an introduction to Michel Foucault and monographs on Karen Blixen, Herman Bang and Hans Christian Andersen. He dreams of writing a queer history of Scandinavian Literature.

Free and Open to the Public

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