Brutal social demaskering (Pehmeäkantinen kirja)

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In the period 1955-1962 Kurt Salomonson (b. 1929) wrote seven novels, of which four are deemed social novels. These four works, Grottorna (1956), Mannen utanför (1958), Sveket (1959) and Skiljevägen (1962) became the subject of extensive public debate at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s. This public debate was characterized by a shift in aesthetic issues to a heated political discourse at a time when the dominant position of the Social Democrats was under threat. Kurt Salomonson was less productive at the beginning of the 1960s, and consequently became marginalized. Only in 1979 did he regain prominence with the publication of his collection of short stories entitled Flickan med sagohåret.

The late 1960s witnessed major changes in the Swedish literary and political canon, a time when both the political debate and literature acquired new content and form. These years are deemed a period of change, "strömkantringens år", and they also influenced the literary career of Kurt Salomonson. His social novels were republished, reinterpreted and subjected to left-wing social analysis. The author eventually regained prominence and was awarded several prizes for literature. What became known as "folhemsromanerna" (the people's home novels), Mannen utanför (1958), Sveket (1959) and Skiljevägen (1962), were republished twice and served as examples of the early and far-sighted criticism of the modern Swedish welfare state and considered as models of novels embodying social criticism.

The dissertation is a study of historical reception. Its purpose is to ascertain the real nature of the reception of the novels when first published, how the author was positioned in the literary landscape and how the novels were subsequently interpreted and evaluated. In the course of time the view taken of Salomonson acquired a political cast, which has affected the view conveyed to posterity of the reception the author received at the outset. This reception can be scrutinized in the reviews and opinions in numerous publications and the dissertation has made use of these. They are grouped and approached according to journalistic classifications.
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