Anna i världen: om Anna Rydstedts diktkonst

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


With her 1953 debut Anna Rydstedt (1928-1994) immediately became part of a strong tradition of Swedish women poets, a tradition represented by authors such as Karin Boye and Edith Södergran. The debut was a furious attack on those who had thwarted her attempts to become a minister in the Church of Sweden. Rydstedt’s poetry is always existential, both in its content and process. Writing, for her, is an attempt to create a form, which makes the surrounding world real and possible to hang on to. Writing is also a way of communicating with other people in order to break the isolation of the individual.

Rydstedt’s poetry has the aim of trying to find an existential position – a spot – in life and in the world. This dissertation identifies Rydstedt’s most important thematic and biographic positions in time and space. The arrangement is roughly chronological: it starts with the debut and ends with the posthumously published book. At the same time the first two chapters are explicitly geographical. Rydstedt was very much a poet of place.

The first chapter starts with an examination of the literary life in Lund in the early 1950s, its local, historical, and sociological conditions, and it ends with interpretations of poems from the end of the Lund period in the early 1960s. In general, the 1950s are considered to be a neoromantic period in Swedish literature, but an exception is Lundaskolan (the Lund School), which also emerged during this decade. Rydstedt was then a member of a student literary society, out of which this Lundaskolan grew.

In the second chapter Rydstedt is placed in a context of the theoretical discussion about poetry of place – and the place of poetry. Two poems are interpreted. In the first, it is shown how Rydstedt forms both an existential and lyrical – or literal and literary – structure in time and space. In the second, it is made clear that although Rydstedt combines inner and outer worlds, there is no simple separation between material landscape and immaterial soul.

Öland is also the geographical space of the last three chapters. These chapters primarily follow a thematic development. Central themes such as mother/daughter-relationships, death, and poetic creativity are entangled as they are transposed from a physical to a psychological and eventually to a mythical drama.

The third chapter discusses the symbolic and the biographical role of the father, the daughter, and the mother in Rydstedt’s life and poetry, and the fourth chapter discusses the sun as the central and self-reflexive symbol of Rydstedt’s authorship. The sun represents both life and literature, and, in a way, is a symbiosis of the two.

The fifth and final chapter deals with Rydstedt’s last book and its version of the ancient Greek myth of Demeter and Kore/Persephone. Rydstedt stresses the mother/daughter-relationship and also shows concern for the environment. Most of all, however, this last book of hers is about growing old, about dying, and about various forms of not dying, of living in eternity.

Original languageSwedish
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • General Literary studies (60203)


  • anna rydstedt
  • autobiographical writing
  • ecology
  • greek mythology
  • irony
  • lundaskolan
  • metapoetry
  • mother/daughter-relationship
  • nordiska språk (språk och litteratur)
  • poetry of place
  • scandinavian languages and literature
  • swedish 20th century poetry
  • syncretism
  • öland

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