”Hinner vi inte ta en grogg tillsammans, innan ångaren sjunker?”
Fakta och fiktion i Erik Pallins Kaparkaptenen på Emden
”How about a drink together, before the ship sinks?” Fact and Fiction in Erik Pallin’s Kaparkaptenen på Emden
The First World War gave rise to a surge of war novels, many of which were aimed at a young audience. These novels can be characterized as adventure stories with boys as their main target group. Swedish author Erik Pallin’s Kaparkaptenen på Emden: Romantiserad skildring från det stora världskriget 1914 (The Privateer Captain of Emden: Romanticized Depiction from the Great World War in 1914) was published in December 1914. It is not only one of the first Swedish youth novels about the war, but also one of the most intriguing as the tension between reality and fiction is particularly strong in Pallin’s novel. It tells the story of the German cruiser Emden whose raids in the Indian Ocean attracted much attention from journalists and authors. The article investigates how Pallin depicted the war for his young readers, focusing on the relationship between fact and fiction. The analysis shows that Pallin, much like the journalists reporting on Emden, transforms Emden’s warfare into heroic adventure tales and portrays Emden’s captain as a charismatic hero who symbolizes the male ideal of the time. The analysis concludes that Kaparkaptenen på Emden to some extent can be considered a “newsreel novel” (Paris), but that Pallin also romanticizes Emden’s warfare to appeal to his young readers. Rather than depicting the atrocities of real-life war, Pallin presents the war as an adventure with idyllic, romantic, and comical elements. The novel’s happy ending, with the war coming to an end, suggests that Pallin wished to take a stance against the war, but it can also be read as a strategy used to appeal to his young audience by offering them a story of hope.
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