|Storlek: 165x242 mm|
|Antal sidor: 124|
Preface This volume is doubtless a pioneer manifestation: the first printed collection of scholarly studies with a double perspective on gender and childrens literature around the Baltic Sea. It documents a symposium held at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators May 8-10, 1998. Three days when some 30 participants -- also symbolically -- felt that summer came to the island of Gotland.
The initiative in forming this joint investigation of male and female in childrens books of the Baltic sea region came from Gunilla Forsén, dynamic director of the Centre. Together with another true enthusiast, Birgitta Svensk of the Gotland County Administration, she planted the idea with the Swedish Institute for Childrens Books and the Department of Literature at the University of Stockholm. Thus the planning group was enlarged by Sonja Svensson of the former and Ulf Boëthius and Boel Westin of the latter organisation.
Even good ideas may take time to reach fulfilment, and this one did. But there was never a doubt that it would blossom and ripe, once the minds were set at the Centre! During its short history this institution has succeeded in forming a firm bridge between all countries around the Baltic, and the shortest visit there is bound to convince everyone of its great importance for humanistic and creative communication in the cultural fields of that large region. An admirable accomplishment that is all the more important since these countries Ä for political reasons separated for so many decades Ä have so much in common.
And surely this conference confirmed that statement. The meeting place, the medieval town of Visby, is in itself a reminder of the common Baltic heritage which the seminar program emphasised through a fascinating (and tasty!) medieval dinner and sightseeing under very professional guidance. And the cultural evening with appearances by Swedish author Ulf Stark and Liutauras Degesys together with Algis Klova, Lithuanian poet and musician/singer respectively, just as effectively showed that by learning more about others, by exchanging and blending cultural ingredients, inspiration grows and new patterns may be created.
The two days of papers and discussion sessions illustrated the same invigorating phenomenon. Kestutis Urba, Lithuanian researcher, Mara Cielena, Latvian author and Reet Krusten, Estonian critic, applied different aspects on gender in their respective national literatures for children. The Finnish and Finland-Swedish perspectives were provided by Janina Orlov, literary researcher now living in Sweden. Riitta Oittinen of Tampere University concentrated on the other half of the Centres official task: the promotion of translations. The second day comprised surveys and analyses from the Norwegian (Rolf Romøren) and Swedish points of view (Ulf Boëthius and Boel Westin). A remaining impression of all these stimulating presentations was that the issue of gender in childrens books, hitherto overlooked in the Baltic countries and at times a bit mechanically dealt with in Scandinavia, has great potentials indeed. And by combining the results from various language areas there is a lot to be gained. The totality will indubitably add up to more than the sum of its parts.
Enthused by all the new knowledge and refreshing discussions (and by the prospect of a proceedings volume!) the participants devoted the last day to the history and beautiful aspects of Visby. And to continued and future-oriented exchange of literary ideas Ä not documented here but pointing to further co-operation in the field.
Ph D and Docent of Literature
director of the Swedish Institute for Childrens Books