Stepping into the dark: mourning in Astrid Lindgren’s The brothers Lionheart1

Alan Richards


Astrid Lindgren’s juvenile novel, Bröderna Lejonhjärta (1973), has enchanted me since I first read it while studying at the University of Alberta. In part, I write this essay to uncover why this story haunts me. More importantly, however, I wonder what young readers of the twenty-first century in Canada, where I live, and in North America generally, might make of this modern fairy tale and its parallel worlds of Lindgren’s childhood Sweden and an imaginary realm of adventure, Nangiyala. How might they read The brothers Lionheart (Lindgren 1985) against conflicts they experience in their own parallel worlds of home and neighbourhood, school, television and the Internet?

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Barnboken – Journal of Children's Literature Research eISSN 2000-4389
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