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Att sätta döden ur spel: En analys av Tomas Tranströmers dikt "Medeltida motiv"
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC))
2018 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, E-ISSN 2002-3871, Vol. 139, no -, p. 162-177, article id -Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To knock Death out of the Game. An analysis of Tomas Tranströmer’s poem “Medieval motif ”

The Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer’s (1931–2015) poem “Medieval Motif ”, from For Living and Dead (1989), takes its visual point of departure in the motif “Man who plays chess with Death about his life”. A motif also found in medieval visual arts (Albertus Pictor, 1440–1509) and in modern film art (Ingmar Bergman, 1918–2007). In both Pictors painting, ”The Game of Chess with Death” (around 1480), and Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal (1957), Death knocks man out of the game by checkmate. In Tranströmer’s poem, however, things turn out somewhat differently. In “Medieval Motif ” there is unique word in Swedish poetry, “frisörsaxklippande” (“barber-scissor-like clipping”), as a determination for a sound. The analysis of the poem tries to answer a number of questions: What is this sound exactly? Why does the sound occur in a poem about a motif from the Middle Ages? What function does the sound have for the poem as an artistic whole? The “Medieval motif ”, which besides the title consists of two Sapphic stanzas, is the subject of an in-depth motif analysis and of a composition analysis. In summary, the analysis shows that the “Medieval motif ” forms an epiphany where the motif of Vanitas contributes to the understanding of the moment of togetherness as time and space cease to exist, and a previously hidden truth is revealed. As a part of that truth, Death is knocked out of the game.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet, 2018. Vol. 139, no -, p. 162-177, article id -
Keywords [en]
Tranströmer, chess, death, composition, epiphany
National Category
Humanities and the Arts General Literature Studies
Research subject
Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16693OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16693DiVA, id: diva2:1295667
Note

ISBN 978–91–87666–38–4

Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2019-07-10Bibliographically approved

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Almer, Johan

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CiteExportLink to record
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