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Anna SwärdhUniversitetslektor, Docent

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Docent i litteraturvetenskap vid Engelska institutionen.

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I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Utter confusion on every side? Helena Northampton’s Supplicatory Letter to the Earl of Sussex

    2021. Anna Swärdh. Rhetorica - A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 39 (1), 67-90


    This essay examines the supplicatory letter the Swedish- born Helena, marchioness of Northampton, addressed to Thomas Radcliffe, third earl of Sussex, in 1576 or 1577, hoping he would help her regain access to Elizabeth I. The essay situates the letter within the early modern patronage system and the court environment, but foremost within the field of early modern letter-writing in general, and the supplicatory letter in particular. The essay shows how a number of rhetorical strategies, designed to inspire pity and benevolence mainly through ethos and pathos, are employed to create positions for both supplicant and addressee. In this way, the letter reaches the desired goal of regaining royal presence. By looking at the letter through the frames of early modern letter-writing and more general rhetorical practise, the essay points to a tension between the letter’s stated sentiment of “utter confusion” and its highly formalised expression, indicative of the letter’s rhetorical situation and especially of the constraints related to its sender’s social status. The letter is transcribed in an appendix. 

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  • James Bell's Narrative of Cecilia Vasa's Journey to England

    2021. Anna Swärdh. English literary renaissance 51 (1), 1-30


    This essay examines James Bell's narrative of the Swedish princess Cecilia Vasa's journey to England in 1564-1565 with focus on the representation of Elizabeth I and Cecilia. The essay argues that the narrative is best understood as a travelogue whose rhetorical function is that of an encomium, celebrating first of all Elizabeth, but also Cecilia and the two women's relationship. In doing this, the text partakes in contemporary constructions of Elizabeth as potent yet female ruler through its deployment of the so-called rhetoric of love and through its use of iconography that depicts Elizabeth as wise and legitimate ruler. By positing Cecilia as lover of Elizabeth, Bell extends the discourse of love to foreign royalty and a potential political ally; a special bond between the two is set up in ways that would have been accessible to contemporary readers more broadly but also through imagery that would have connected the two in ways open to a more select readership. While the relative status between Elizabeth and Cecilia is maintained throughout the travelogue, Bell celebrates the venture of the journey itself, and thus the meeting of the two women in a way that defines it as a diplomatic exchange with the specific purpose of furthering contact, dialogue, and goodwill between the two countries. [A.S.]

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  • Progression and Return in Västanå Theatre’s Retelling of the Edda (2019)

    2020. Anna Swärdh. Nordic Journal of English Studies 19 (4), 1-25


    In 2019, Västanå Theatre staged Jon Fosse’s Edda, a theatrical adaptation of myths from the Poetic Edda. This essay focuses on a number of formal devices used to adapt the Norse myths at Västanå, the dumb show convention perhaps offering the most stylized form of expression of these. The essay shows how the production helped the audience negotiate between a linear and a circular understanding of time, through formal and structural means: staging, selection and ordering of episodes signalled a strong initial focus on the inevitability of Ragnarök, while circularity and return were highlighted through the ending in which the world was reborn, but also through other features that stressed repetition and retelling. The essay argues that the dumb show convention could be taken as emblematic of the production’s negotiation between the two timelines, but it also shows how the device helped adapt female characters into more powerful agents, how it added hope in the form of young love, and how it functioned to draw attention to narration, words, and poetry. 

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