Mats Jansson


Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Mats Jansson

My research focuses on questions related to literary criticism, lyrical modernism, reception history, and intermediality. In my doctoral thesis Tradition och förnyelse (1991, Tradition and renewal) I analyze the Swedish critical and lyrical reception of T.S. Eliot in order to demonstrate his seminal importance for the development of Swedish lyrical modernism in the 1930s and 1940s. I have translated a selection of Eliot’s criticism in Om kritik (2002, On criticism). In Kritisk tidsspegel (1998, Critical mirror of its time) I focus on the role and function of literary criticism relative to the general breakthrough of Swedish lyrical modernism in the 1940s; here various theoretical approaches (literary field, literary institution, intertextuality) to the concept of ‘literary criticism’ are combined with empirical research. My monograph Den siste barden (2005, The last bard) investigates the writings of the Swedish modernist, poet and painter Sven Alfons (1918–96) and his relationship to the literary tradition. The concepts of ‘persona’ and ‘dramatic monologue’ are shown to be central in Alfons’ aesthetics. In addition, Alfons’ own paintings are found to be concordant with his poetry in their recurrent use of pictorial and literary quotations. Focusing on the concept of ‘ekphrasis’ in Poetens blick (2014, The poet’s gaze), I investigate the use of this mode of expression in Swedish poetry from the Romantic era through Modernism and Postmodernism. Furthermore, I adress semiotic, hermeneutical and phenomenological questions posed by ekphrastic poetry. I have recently completed and co-edited a project on the relationship between photography and literature in the Modernist era: Att skriva med ljus. 13 essäer om litteratur och fotografi (2020, Writing with light. 13 essays on literature and photography), in which my own contribution investigates Elias Canetti’s travelogue Die Stimmen von Marrakesch (1967, The voices of Marrakesh) and the aesthetic effects resulting from the insertion of photographs in the work’s American edition from 2001. I am currently dealing with questions of perception, landscape, time, and memory in the writings of Folke Dahlberg (1912–66).