b. 1944, Ph.D. 1983, professor at the university of Gothenburg since the year of 2000 (see further link to pdf with CV an list of publications in the right marginal). She has done research on experimental Swedish novel of the 1960s; on short fiction and early Swedish working class prose. Recurring theoretical perspectives are reception theory and response aesthetics, problems of genre, narrative, and semiotics, that is perspectives focussing on how literary texts by means of various literary devices and strategies can prepare the act of reading in a particular culture.
At present Agrell is studying the relationship between ideology, aesthetics, and use function for the first generation of Swedish working class authors c:a 1910 (especially Dan Andersson, Martin Koch, Maria Sandel, Karl Östman). The main issue concerns how literary and political strategies are woven together with the aim of evoking an engaged reader role. Another task is clarifying how genre traditions of entirely different cultural contexts cooperate in creating a new type of texts as well as the various contexts of publication and function that the texts were inserted into.
A related area of Agrell’s research is didactics and aesthetics of the devoute narratives of the early 1900s (e.g. Betty Janson, Christina Nilsson, Mathilda Roos, Hilma Svens-son-Graner, Anna Ölander). Here she investigates how a literary form is used for didactic aims, what kind of didactics this is and in which contexts it is applied. Assumptions are that these texts give way to an indirect communication that mediates an existential knowledge that hardly could be communicated discursively and that fictional narration is central to this function. The investigation is to show how reutilization of traditional devotional literature is crossed with the idiom of the secular novel and how this crossing entails another kind of didactics than that of the pure devout literature. Overall, the relation between artistic-aesthetic literature and existential literature of use is elucidated.
Recently Agrell also has initiated research on Flannery O’Connor with the emphasis on the Biblical offensive techniques with which this Roman Catholic author is approaching her Protestant readers in the Bible belt of the American South. The issue is the didactic-educative function of these techniques.
Fulltexts by Agrell are available at
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