torsdag 23 augusti 2007

A power battle…

In the middle of planning I try to take time to relax, on the balcony, with a book, or with a bike tour or something… Sat on the balcony now reading about the Swedish author Victoria Benedictsson who lived 1850-1888. Have been reading about her novel “Fru Marianne” (“the wife Marianne” it would be translated to English). This book, "Fru Marianne", was seen very positively by the conservative, because it was about a married couple where the wife stayed in a marriage that had problems. The woman-liberation movement had already started then!! (in a way people written about sounds pretty modern!!! It feels at least! Similar discussions and problems!!). This book came 1887, the year before Benedictsson died.

And I see it as a apology (avbön) from Benedictssons part. She used a pseudonym when she wrote, a male, Ernst Ahlgren (she married a 28 year older man in a village called Hörby, a village where I spent my life from I was 14 till I was 18. Or I lived just outside it). it was ok that women painted in this small village, but writing?? Out of question. She had a relation with the Danish author George Brandes, and I react strongly when I read how he treated her, both as human being and as author. But this didn't cool her down, on the contrary! All this contributed to her suicide in Copenhagen where she is also buried! She was probably also exposed to sexual abuse when she was a child, maybe incest...

Marianne came from a bourgeoisie family and her husband from a farmer’s family, though a wealthier. All in the south of Sweden, in Skåne.

Two people from very different worlds, almost entirely different. Which led to problems when the first love and interest and excitement had died down. Maybe this marriage was a way for both contradicting parts (the two involved) to break with the old life?? For Marianne to be someone and by the wife-role get a position in the society!? And for him, Börje, to have someone to show for the environment.

He worked hard and left his wife at home, a woman that knew nothing about a farms household…

In the middle of all this a friend (the best friend) of Börje, Pål, arrived on the scene, and stayed in the house. He was a man who had read books and Marianne and he got things to talk about!! A lot to talk about. And of course warm feelings came up…

Marianne had to choose!! It came to that point! And in the middle Marianne realized she was pregnant, with Börjes child.

Marianne was forced to some kind of penance against Börje, an awful, a history of humiliation the author of this autobiography writes.

She writes:

“It’s a story of power – nevertheless. A question of power goes through the whole novel. Already shown in Börje’s soberness which according to Pål stands for a fear for the incalculably and a need for total control in him. It’s also shown in Marianne’s half-conscious erotic radiance and the power she with this gets over Börje’s denied sides. A power-battle between seems to be unavoidable, with or without Pål’s intervention.

A new power-constellation comes with the child. One could think it was Marianne’s power that would get bigger. Instead it is Börje’s. While Marianne is awoken toa greater sensitivity for all the unknown in the father of the child, the unexplored in him, he feels he has the best of it (har ett övertag in Swedish). When he sees the fast look she gives him he experiences an instinct-like, egging gladness – maybe a feeling of power.”

Phew!!! But from where the need for power? Whether it is about the woman or the man??? And what does a grown up needs actually? And what not? What stands in the way for real, genuine nearness?

And in society and politics it’s much about power today!! But a power that isn’t really outspoken, as it was maybe twenty years ago: power and suborder. Which I think would be adequate!!

From the personal to the societal.

But there are parallels to today and to how it was for Victoria Benedictsson then!!?? A form of backlash in society both then and as it is today too I think and feel!!

English word of today “penance” which means “botgöring, ålagd botgöring” in Swedish.

The book in question (which I am reading now) is titled "Victoria Benedictsson" and is written by Birgitta Holm. ISBN 978 91 27 09778 0.

About her in Swedish. In English.

Inga kommentarer: