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The Rustle of Swede Girls: A Speculation of the Representation of Scandinavians in Fitzgerald’s Fiction
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. (Linnaeus University Research Center for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0115-4995
2017 (English)In: 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference: Saint Paul, Minnesota 2017, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In The Beautiful and Damned Fitzgerald depicts a Swedish maid as ”broad-hipped, broad-shouldered” and ”icy-hearted”. With the exception of the “rustle of Swede girls” that infatuates Pastor Schwarz in “Absolution” in the “lost Swede town” most references to Sweden is through maids, servants or domestics usually in a slightly pejorative manner. “Servants all that way nowadays,” thinks Evelyn in “The Cut-Glass Bowl”, “[i]f she could get a good Irishwoman—but you couldn’t any more—and these Swedes——“. They generally represent the gloomy side of Midwestern life: “Scandinavians,” says Patton to Sally Carrol in “The Ice Palace”, “have the largest suicide rate in the world.” Much critical attention has been directed towards Fitzgerald’s ethnic stereotyping of blacks and Jews; this paper will instead look at the representation of Scandinavians in his fiction. As Suzanne del Gizzo demonstrates in “Ethnic Stereotyping” the formula for success in Fitzgerald’s early writing is Aryan, such as Gloria being a “Nordic Ganymede” and Anthony possessing Nordic features in The Beautiful and Damned. Hence, one would imagine that the representation of actual Scandinavians would be slightly more endorsing. The fact that most depicted Scandinavians belong to the lower classes (and Fitzgerald might remember the Swedish maids on Summit Ave. vividly), then suggests that social class overrides ethnicity in Fitzgerald’s narratives. However, class and ethnicity becomes increasingly muddled in the character of Jules Peterson, black shoemaker from Stockholm, who is murdered in Tender is the Night.  This paper will explore how Fitzgerald uses Scandinavian characters in his fiction, investigate the power of these characters’ social and cultural context, and speculate on the reasons behind this particular use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
F Scott Fitzgerald, style, Sweden, Scandinavia, Blondes
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Comparative literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-67238OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-67238DiVA: diva2:1131493
Conference
14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, Saint Paul, Minnesota U.S., June 25-July 2, 2017
Available from: 2017-08-14 Created: 2017-08-14 Last updated: 2017-08-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf