Alf Prøysens Teskedsgumma i tantforskningsperspektiv
Alf Prøysen’s Mrs Pepperpot has been adopted by Swedish children’s literature. Still, there is little research done on the stories about her. In this article, I explore the impact of Prøysen’s popular miniature character using topical research on the concept of elderly women or, so called, “aunts”. Mrs Pepperpot’s gender and age, as well as the nature of her shrinking, set her apart from other children’s literature miniatures. This reading, which takes into account how gender and age are made in literary texts, throws new light upon Mrs Pepperpot’s dual nature. The analysis shows how her dramatic adventures whilst a minikin are set off against everyday ”little life”, at the same time as interesting cracks appear in her role as caring wife and good mother via her childish playfulness and rebellious outbursts characterized by non-age adequate behaviour. Thus, Mrs Pepperpot is read as a complex literary character, or a “super aunt”, who encompasses both a female ideal and a resistance towards that ideal.
Keywords: Alf Prøysen; Mrs Pepperpot; children’s literature; elderly women; aunts; literary miniatures; gender; age
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