Bylocks Drakskeppstrilogi – analogi och kulturmöten
In my thesis “It could just as well have happened today”: Maj Bylock's Drakskeppstrilogi and historical consciousness in ten- to twelve-year-olds, I provide a textual, thematic analysis of the three novels from 1997–1998. Further, in an empirical study I have documented the reading of Bylock's fictitious, historical trilogy about the Viking era as done by 11-year-old children, whose thematic work and development of a historical consciousness also have been part of the study. This article deals only with the textual analysis aspect, which purpose is to show what in the texts might produce a historical consciousness in children as well as how the characters are portrayed in order for children to identify with them. Two functions of the novels are studied: knowledge and analogy. The focus is on the main character Petite/Åsa and her development with a view to gender, ethnicity and class as seen from an intersectional perspective. I use postcolonial concepts such as diaspora and hybrid identity in order to describe cultural encounters brought on by migration. I portray female characters gaining a higher level of empowerment, a term used by Joanne Brown and Nancy St. Clair. Bylock claims that she is reflecting the present in her historical texts and that this is more straightforwardly achieved when the events are set several hundred years ago. As a result irrelevant details can be removed and the focus be placed on timeless, human phenomena, for instance cultural encounters. In the light of the above and ideas about how best to describe cultural encounters I analyse the cultural contexts in which the main character finds herself focusing on her transition from a girl into a woman and her quest for a multicultural identity. I elaborate on the concepts mentioned in the previous by describing two cultural encounters which provide an analogy with the present.
Keywords: Maj Bylock, migration, the viking age, historical consciousness, the historical novel, analogy, the perspective of being the other, empowerment, to read and write then and now
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