Torsten Pettersson

Professor at Department of Literature

+4618-471 2956
Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 P

Postal address:
Box 632
751 26 UPPSALA

Research Interests in Brief

I am Chair Professor of Literature at Uppsala University, Sweden, as well as a writer of poetry and fiction. My research interests in recent years have focussed on empirical studies of readers’ reactions to literary texts as well as their conceptions of aspects of literary culture such as genre and fictionality. I am director of a project entitled “Reading Fiction in the Internet Society” and sponsored by The Swedish Research Council 2011–2014. Together with Skans Kersti Nilsson (Borås) and Maria Wennerström Wohrne (Uppsala), I wish to illuminate, more specifically, the attitudes towards and strategies for reading literature displayed by 18–25-year old Swedes who have been strongly influenced by the various communicational practices of an advanced internet culture. These efforts, pursued by means of questionnaires and interviews, interface with psychology, sociology, and studies of education.

My research interests developed in previous decades comprise world views in literature; the relation between literature and secularization; the history of the English novel; twentieth-century poetry and fiction in Germany, Sweden and Finland; nineteenth-century opera; the epistemological status of literary interpretation and the cultural and epistemic position of literature.

This research has frequently interfaced with aesthetics, philosophy, theology, and musicology. Oeuvres studied include those of Joseph Conrad and Charles Dickens; Adalbert Stifter, Rainer Maria Rilke and Hugo von Hofmannsthal; Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi; Eyvind Johnson, Hjalmar Gullberg, Ola Hansson, Edith Södergran, Gunnar Björling, and Elmer Diktonius. In one case the interface was my work as a poet: in 2012 I brought out a volume in which my selection and translation into Swedish of 144 poems by 18 Finnish poets were complemented by a historical and literary analysis of Finnish poetry from 1860 to 1960.

My scholarly work is presented in greater detail in the document "Academic Biography in Narrative Form and Curriculum Vitae".

Work in Progress

“Fictionality in the Empirical Study of Literature”. Article accepted for a conference volume.

“Why Should We Respect Nature? An Appropriation of Nietzsche”. Article submitted for an anthology on environmental studies. Forthcoming in Contesting Environmental Imaginaries, ed. Steven Hartman (Brill/Rodopi)

“Kameleonten Mikael Lybeck [Mikael Lybeck, the Chameleon]”. Article.

“What Literature Can and Cannot Tell Us About Reality”. Extensive article.

“The Arts in Scandinavia 1870-1945”. Book chapter commissioned for The Cambridge History of Scandinavia, vol. III.

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Torsten Pettersson