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Predika utan att predika. Allmänhetens religiösa läsningar av Selma Lagerlöfs författarskap

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Jenny Bergenmar
Publicerad i Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift
Volym 112
Sidor 85-104
ISSN 0085-2619
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion
Sidor 85-104
Språk sv
Länkar https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/90278
Ämnesord History of reading, letter writing, Church History, Selma Lagerlöf, literature reception
Ämneskategorier Språk och litteratur, Filosofi, etik och religion

Sammanfattning

To Preach Without Preaching. Religious Reading Practices in the Public’s Letters to Selma Lagerlöf 1891–1940. As a source for investigating reading in history, letters from readers to authors may provide important information as to different modes of reading employed, as well as the social context of reading and using literature. In the case of Swedish Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf, there is an unusually large collection of letters from her readers, written between 1891 and 1940, held in the National Library of Sweden. This article discusses one of the more conspicuous reading practices visible in the letters, namely readings within a religious context. The letters prove that many contemporary readers perceived Lagerlöf as a Christian author, despite her own critical or hesitant attitude towards the church. The readers address her on questions of faith, in some cases describing the reading of her text as a religious experience or observing that her texts may serve as a substitute for the Bible in a secularized society. In the article letters placing Lagerlöf’s authorship in relation to the church, to revivalist movements, and to new spiritual movements are discussed, as well as specific religious modes of reading of literature. The con- clusion is that a religious reading where the text is considered a source of wisdom and guidance, reread and remembered by heart, is represented in the letters. This is an interesting example of a pre modern mode of reading, which differs from reading practices focused on entertainment and consumption.

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