Tutelary Tales (Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation)

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9780803241855: Tutelary Tales (Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation)

When Tutelary Tales ( Formynder-fortællinger) was first published in Denmark in 1964, a reviewer wrote, "If Danish were a global language, I believe Tutelary Tales would rapidly gain a world-wide audience." That is likely to happen now that Paula Hostrup-Jessen has translated into English this collection of striking short stories by Villy Sørensen, whose position as a leading Scandinavian writer was confirmed when he won the 1986 Swedish Academy Prize, know as the "Little Nobel."   Unified by the twin themes of the guardian and the ward, of liberation and repression, these stories can be read as "chapters in the history of European psyche," according to Sørensen. From the perspective of an imaginary (but not far from real) present, they project backward through recent, medieval, and ancient history to the origins of evil and project ahead to a future still bound by the spiritual schisms of antiquity. Throughout these twelve tales, Sørensen examines the protective, possessive, and conspiratorial forms guardianship can take, from sadistic displays of power to subtle psychological manipulations. Characters are drawn from history and prehistory — Judas, Nero, the apostle Paul, the Hapsburg Emperor Frederick III — and from the street, office, school, and shop. Showing the influence of Hans Christian Andersen, Kierkegaard, and Kafka, and often symbolic and allegorical, the Tutelary Tales are rich in allusions to the Bible, folk ballads, fairy tales, legends, and mythology.

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About the Author:

Paula Hostrup-Jessen was born in London and is now a citizen of Denmark. She has translated the workk of many Danish wriers, classical and contemporary. Sven H. Rossel, who wrote the afterword, is chairman of the Department of Scandinavian Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington and the author of A History of Scandinavian Literature: 1870 to 1980 (1982) and other works.

Language Notes:

Text: English, Danish (translation)

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