• Philip Lavendt Lundgren
  • Anders Grønlund
  • Emilie Dybdal Kristensen
4. term, Danish, Master (Master Programme)
On the one hand, the Greenlander is considered the noble and wild man in the midst of his magnificent and grandiose nature, and on the other hand, he is the social outcast fixed at the absolute bottom of society. This conclusion is reached over and over when reading academic studies on Danish Greenland literature. For a long time, it has been customary practice to engage – academically – with the people rather than the place, which is a tendency that we wish to alter: The aim of this master’s thesis is to demonstrate how Greenland as a place is represented in recent Danish prose.

Within the last ten years, the quantity of Danish novels about Greenland has increased significantly, which is why the main focus is on this period. Particularly, Kim Leine’s Tunu (2009), Profeterne i Evighedsfjorden (2012) and De søvnløse (2016), Iben Mondrup’s Godhavn (2014), Bjarne Ljungdahl’s Korsveje i Nord (2015), and Margrethe Tjalve’s Iseskrog (2017). These texts each offer a particular rendition of Greenland, and by comparing them a comprehensive insight into recent Danish Greenland literature, across genres and authors, is ensured. With a point of departure in inter alia Louise Mønster, Tim Cresswell, and Marc Augé, place theory will be employed as this provides useful tools for analysis, such as place, non-place, placelessness, and multicenteredness. Additionally, the reading will be supplemented by relevant terms from postcolonialism, and particularly Edward Said, as it is deemed that the West’s fascination with The Orient is also advantageously applicable to Danish Greenland literature. Thus, it is considered that it is a former colony, which is treated through a Danish point of view.

The analysis will explore how the essential places, such as the fjord, the school, and the village, are represented in the six texts. In addition, it will be examined how the places are described, how the people interact with them, and what symbolic value they may contain. Following each section of the analysis, the results will be compared to the additional Danish Greenland literature. Putting these texts into perspective, it is hoped that a more valuable insight into the development of the literary places will be obtained, while also demonstrating which representations can be considered characteristic for the recent Danish Greenland literature. For instance, since the mid-19th century, the journey to Greenland, institutions, and disintegration of identity are among the most frequently applied motifs. Contrarily, globalisation, ecological imperialism, and climate change frequently influence the places in modern literature.

The literary places often contain an (imperialistic) critique, and this will be examined further in a discussion. In the light of Said’s claim that it is impossible to learn about The Orient by studying Danish literature, it will be discussed of who or what we then learn: Are we learning about the place, the author, the Danish people, or just the literary text? In other words, an assessment will be made of what Danes can learn by studying Greenlandic places. In this context, one tendency (among others) is observed, where Danish authors abstain from criticising the Greenlandic people and rather turn to the Greenlandic places. The criticism is directed at institutions and villages in particular – places that refer to the Danish colonisation, delocalisation of the Greenlandic local population, and globalisation.
On the basis of the abovementioned work, we believe that a detailed picture of the recent Danish Greenland literature can be painted. Some places are more specific for new texts, however, most often the representations are rooted in Danish literary history: Across year of publication, authors, and genre, the Greenlandic fjords and mountains, like workplaces and homes, are recurring motifs. Descriptions of places do not occur out of nothing, and while some remain, others will alter, and new will emerge: There will always be new waves coming in.
Publication date3 Jun 2019
Number of pages201


Der er altid nye bølger på vej. En stedteoretisk analyse af nyere dansk grønlandslitteratur
ID: 304941606