Emplacement and Narrative Identity in Tomas Bannerhed’s "Korparna"
Keywords:birds, emplacement, environmental hermeneutics, Tomas Bannerhed
In Tomas Bannerhed’s Korparna (The Ravens, 2011), birds and trees not only function as backdrop and setting but contribute toward forming the characters’ narrative identities and sense of place. As this is partly based on cultural values and traditions, I explore historical and literary sources from Småland—the historical province in Sweden where Korparna is set—to assess how Bannerhed interprets and elaborates on them. Drawing on Forrest Clingerman’s concept of “emplacement,” I explicate the interplay between conflicting environmental interpretations, recognizing that places can be described based on the historical record or on ornithological and botanical data, but that folklore and mythology also contribute to local meaning-making. In the context of Korparna, I argue that birding can be a meaningful way of engaging with place, a form of naturalist enthusiasm that fosters deep local knowledge. Finally, I show that relations with nonhumans can be constitutive to a variety of conflicting but partly overlapping environmental identities.
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