If restorative nostalgia concentrates on national past and future and reflective nostalgia onindividual memory (Boym 2001), Lars Gustafsson’s “Where the Alphabet Has Two Hundred Letters” does neither. This article argues that Gustafsson’s treatment of the past landscape is metanostalgic, in the sense that nostalgia is a theme and a means, rather than a sentiment, and that the way his tropic reinvention deals with nostalgia differs from other uses. Though the poem partakes in the pastoral tradition, it is less concerned with this mode and more concerned with the notion of ‘effect’, of which Gustafsson has written extensively. Gustafsson has also elaborated on the aspects of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, notions that are used to define and extend the poetic landscape and the speaker’s position in, and relation to, it. His poetic landscape encompasses the extremes of continents near and far, but also landscapes temporally removed, which may hold a different status in terms of their impact on ‘effect’, a status that is then not hinging on the obvious hierarchies of traditional nostalgia.
- Humaniora och konst (6)