Astrid Lindgren

Twayne Publishers, 1995 - 157 Seiten
In this first book-length study intended for American readers of the Swedish author - and the first to compare story line, character development, and narrative style in the original Swedish and in English translation - Eva-Maria Metcalf offers up not only a lighthearted appreciation of the single-minded Pippi and the other quirky heroes and heroines that populate Lindgren's books but also a serious assessment of Lindgren's thematic concerns, especially her profound commitment to children's rights. Lindgren, also known for her activism in animal rights (Sweden's most recent animal protection legislation was named for her), holds the interests of society's less powerful at heart; like Pippi, she rarely misses an opportunity to challenge the authority of a foolhardy adult or to question a wrongheaded social or moral convention. Most Lindgren stories provide for children "a dreamworld of wish fulfillment", Metcalf writes; obstacles are overcome, problems solved, cruelty exposed, needs for love and comfort eventually met, and desires for such simple pleasures as whipped-cream cakes and rice pudding sated. The author's "fictional places are projections of Lindgren's visions of a better society and a more humane life for both children and adults", serving "not only as an escape but as an inspiration for her readers". Never "cautionary tales or moralizing fables", Metcalf concludes, Lindgren's stories "carry within them the complexity and inscrutability of folktales". This broad survey of Lindgren's fiction - from the books that recall the author's native, rural, turn-of-the-century Smaland to the books of "happy anarchy" about freckle-faced Pippi and the lazily rebellious Karlsson-on-the-Roofto the powerful quest narratives of Mio, My Son, The Brothers Lionheart, and Ronia, the Robber's Daughter - makes clear her gifts as a storyteller with a deep and abiding respect for her primary audience: children.

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