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The little Scandinavian hero and the conquest of Europe

Le petit héros scandinave à la conquête de l’Europe

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Published on Tuesday, July 03, 2018


En 1945, la littérature d’enfance et de jeunesse scandinaves enregistrent une nouveauté gargantuesque avec la publication de Pippi Långstrump d’Astrid Lindgren et Les Moumines de Tove Jansson. Les expérimentalismes d’après-guerre trouvent dans la littérature scandinave de jeunesse une réalisation tellement accomplie que les experts parlent d’une deuxième percée moderne, à la suite du mouvement d’ouverture européenne enregistré par la littérature nordique dans les années 1870. L’influence sur le reste de la littérature européenne est assez immédiate et durable, l’image et la place au sein de la société que les pays scandinaves garantissent à l’enfant renouvelle les formes narratives de ce genre.



In 1945, children’s and young adult literature records a gargantuan innovation with the publication of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Långstrump and Tove Jansson The Moumines. Post-war experimentalism finds in Scandinavian children’s literature a realisation so accomplished that the experts consider it as a second modern “breakthrough”, following the opening movement registered in Nordic literature in the 1870s. The influence on the rest of European literature is quite immediate and durable, the image and the place in societies that Scandinavian countries guarantee to childhood renewed the narrative forms of the genre. Premises of this new conception of “customised” childhood literature which describes real children come within the framework of Ellen Key’s pedagogical theories [Barnets århundrade, 1901] and previous works such as Selma Lagerlöf’s novels [Nils Holgersson underbara resa genom Sverige, 1906]. The promotion of children’s education is the most evident result: literacy rates in Scandinavia are higher than those in Southern Europe, and have been for decades. The Arcadian myth of a child represented by a noble savage in harmony with nature seems finally to have found a modern adaptation in Nordic works for the youth. What is the particularity of a hero in Scandinavian children’s literature? What does it say about those societies? What European image of Nordic counties is shaped by these texts?

All critical and theoretical are welcome. Papers may address the following topics, among others:

  • Narrative representations of a young hero in Scandinavian children’s literature and young adult fiction
  • Reproductions of Scandinavian young heroes in different medias as comic strips, graphic novels, cartoon;
  • Relations between the “minor” popular literature and “major” literary canon as well as between mass culture and classic culture;
  • The influence of Scandinavian educational systems on Scandinavian and/or foreign artistic productions and images;
  • Textbooks for schools in Nordic countries and their role in children’s education.

Submission guidelines

Proposal of approximately 200 words, with a title and a short biographical note, should be sent

before the 1st August 2018

to the following address: alessandra.ballott@uha.fr

A peer-reviewed publication will follow the conference.

Organisation Committee

  • Alessandra Ballotti
  • Frédérique Toudoire-Surlapierre

Scientifc Committee

  • Alessandra Ballotti (Université Haute-Alsace)
  • Sylvain Briens (Paris IV-Sorbonne)
  • Davide Finco (Università di Genova)
  • Joachim Grage (Albert Ludwig Freiburg Universität)
  • Henrik Johnsson (TromsöUniversitet)
  • Thomas Mohnike (Université de Strasbourg)
  • Frédérique Toudoire-Surlapierre (Université Haute-Alsace)



  • FLSH - rue des frères Lumière
    Mulhouse, France (68)


  • Wednesday, August 01, 2018


  • héro, scandinave, jeunesse


  • Alessandra Ballotti
    courriel : alessandra [dot] ballotti [at] uha [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Alessandra Ballotti
    courriel : alessandra [dot] ballotti [at] uha [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The little Scandinavian hero and the conquest of Europe », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, July 03, 2018, https://doi.org/10.58079/10j2

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