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INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR IN MÄNNISKOR KRING EN BRO AND DE TELEURGANG VAN DE WATERHOEK

  • Romain John Van de Maele
Trefwoorden: Kjellgren, Streuvels, collective novel, individual and collective behaviour, copular clauses, ingroup, inverted value pattern, irony, willpower, generational conflict, female characters.

Samenvatting

At first sight, Människor kring en bro (1935) by Josef Kjellgren (1907-1948) and De
Teleurgang van de Waterhoek (1927) by Stijn Streuvels (1871-1969) seem to be very different
novels, although both narratives depict to a certain extent the building of a bridge as a step in
the modernization process. Kjellgren's characters are at work in urban surroundings –
Stockholm – Streuvels's figures build a bridge in a rural area in Flanders. Careful reading
reveals a significant number of structural and factual similarities. On the back cover of
Människor kring en bro the book is presented as a 'kollektiv arbetsroman', in other words, a
collective or community novel, a qualification that applies to Streuvels's novel too, although it
has never been presented as a collective novel. In this article, I will discuss both factual and
structural similarities as well as the differences between the two novels, and I will do so by
using various approaches, one of the techniques being the use of copular clauses. In the past,
Streuvels's novel has been studied time and again from a psychological perspective. Mira, one
of the novel's characters, has not only tantalized the novel's male characters, but she has also
mesmerized many scholars. By comparing the novel to Kjellgren's narrative - especially by
focusing on collective behaviour and collective characteristics - I will try to show that the
novel's many layers can only be exposed by highlighting structural features. Furthermore, the
use of copular clauses will shed light on the individual and collective layers of Kjellgren's novel.

Gepubliceerd
2020-06-23
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