Onsdag (Wednesday), 13:30–14:00, H135b
Affiliering (affiliation): University of Florence, ITA
The loudest laugh
Anyone who reads Leonora Christina’s Jammers Minde (Memoirs of Leonora Christina), the most important prose work in Danish literature of the 17th century, cannot but remained baffled by the so-called death list Leonora Christina added to her preface in 1685. On being released from Blåtårn after almost 22 years, she listed in her manuscript the names of the people who had plagued and harassed her during her incarceration but had already died – often in painful and occasionally embarrassing circumstances (on the loo, for example). This grotesque list reveals Leonora’s feeling of superiority vis-à-vis the people she names, and one can almost hear her laughing gleefully while penning the passage in question. Read in its entirety, however, Jammers Minde is also brimming with more good-natured humor. Leonora documents funny situations and masterfully juxtaposes the comical clashes of languages and linguistics registers within the prison walls. She even entertained herself by writing a funny didactic story in rhymes about a decrepit old dog named Cavaillier sent to her by the queen. In this paper, I would like to take a closer look at the comical vein that clearly traverses Jammers Minde despite the author’s avowed aim of recording her own misery and juxtapose the book with 17th century theories of laughter (e.g., Thomas Hobbes).
Anna Wegener is Assistant Professor (ricercatrice) of Scandinavian Literature at the University of Florence, Italy. From 2015 to 2021 she worked as Assistant Director (amanuensis) at the Danish Academy in Rome. Her research interests include translation studies, children’s literature, the cultural relations between Italy and Scandinavia, women’s writing, and language didactics.