G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Paikantuneita haluja. Seksuaalisuus ja tila Christer Kihlmanin tuotannossa – Situated Desires. Sexuality and Space in Selected Fiction by Christer Kihlman

Subtitle: Situated Desires. Sexuality and Space in Selected Fiction by Christer Kihlman

List of Authors: Carlson Mikko

Publisher: Turun yliopisto

Place: Jyväskylä

Publication year: 2014

ISBN: 978-951-39-5632-5


Situated Desires. Sexuality and Space in Selected Fiction by Christer Kihlman

The present study focuses on the relation between sexuality and space in the oeuvre of Christer Kihlman (b. 1930) by focusing on his fiction published during the years 1971–1987: Människan som skalv (The man who collapsed), Alla mina söner ( transl. All my sons), Livsdrömmen rena ( Clear dreams of life), På drift i förlustens landskap ( Drifting amidst the scenery of loss) Dyre prins ( transl. Sweet prince ) and Gerdt Bladhs undergång ( transl. The downfall of Gerdt Bladh).

The interrelations of sexuality, space, identities and class in Kihlman’s prose are examined with the means of thematic and contextual as well as genre-theoretical and narrative-structural analyses. The questions of space and sexuality in culture in general and in literature in particular, are considered from the critical vantage point of Queer Studies.

The dissertation makes explicit and integral the theme of antinormative sexuality, which has been ignored by some earlier studies on Kihlman. Sexuality is viewed not only in the reflections of writer identity, but also in the new manners of pursuing societal and cultural criticism, and in deconstructing the boundary between fact and fiction. Thus, previous conceptions of Kihlman’s transition to depict in his fiction of the 1970s and the 1980s merely issues of private life, prove to be more problematic.

The concept of space is related to wide-ranging debates of sexual liberation and its cultural and political regulation. Kihlman’s authorship is reviewed as a certain kind of space in the established literary institution, in which a reflection of intellectual/ gay authorship reconsiders his authorship as queer, mainly seen contradictory in character. At the same time, Kihlman’s literary works are contextualized in relation to gay and queer literature.

Theoretically, the study outlines the idea of textual queer space, an autofictional literary work where cultural, thematic, and narrative space become indivisible from and complementary to each other. Textual queer space is constructed by the intersections of certain subjects, themes, modes of narration, and discourses of sexuality. The idea of queer space is also connected with the questions of sexual visibility in culture which is particularly problematized by the concept of closet. In Kihlman’s prose fiction of the 1980s scenes are mainly located in South America; this setting opens up new reflections on cultural-specific conditions of sexual desires and identities. The novels Dyre prins and Gerdt Bladhs undergång create a point of comparison to autofiction by displaying how novels’ common themes become varied in different generic frames as they combine characteristics of confession, autobiography and the family novel. The study illustrates how Kihlman’s literary works of the 1970s and the 1980s articulate non-normative sexuality and how this perspective revises general views of Kihlman’s fiction.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 09:20