Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Women's Writing

For a Special Issue on

Nordic Women and Religious Faith

Abstract deadline
01 September 2023

Manuscript deadline
01 May 2024

Cover image - Women's Writing

Special Issue Editor(s)

Anna Bohlin, University of Bergen, Norway
[email protected]

Margrét Eggertsdóttir, Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland
[email protected]

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Nordic Women and Religious Faith

This special issue will examine Nordic women’s writing through the lens of religious faith. The Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Denmark – have a long history of Lutheranism. The Lutheran State Churches restricted women’s agency and simultaneously provided platforms for women’s voices from the Reformation in the 16th century to the 19th century.

Lutheran beliefs were defined in an ambivalent opposition to folklore and to other Christian denominations, most notably Catholicism, and challenged by Pietism and the awakening movements with implications for women’s agency and literature. Furthermore, hagiographies, such as the Legend of Saint Margret, and Catholic devotional poetry, such as praise of Mary, were preserved and circulated in manuscripts, i.e. under the surface. The representation of Mary also became one focal point for anti-Catholicism, as was Protestant pilgrimage – a religious practice new to the 19th century, reflected in women’s travel writing.

Manuscript culture was of continuous importance for female writers: right up until the 19th century Lutheran religious poetry by women could be circulated in manuscripts even though it was never printed. In the Lutheran State Churches, the clergy represented the state, and the clergymen’s wives thus assumed an informal position of authority in the local community, as numerous novels by female authors attest to. In addition, the authority claimed by early feminists was often based on a Lutheran idea of calling. Considering religious faith will highlight transnational patterns and bring out differences in Nordic women’s writing.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Female agency
  • Religious genres (hymns, prayer-books, catechisms, religious writings for children, Moravian Lebensläufe)
  • Women and manuscript culture vs. print culture, including the preservation and use of Catholic genres in manuscripts after the Reformation
  • Representations of Biblical figures, religious authorities (including clergymen’s wives), and religious practices (such as pilgrimage)
  • Religious conflicts and religious minorities
  • Women’s emancipation
  • Differences between the Nordic countries

Submission Instructions

Please submit abstracts of around 300 words to Anna Bohlin, Nordic Literature, University of Bergen,

The issue is expected to be published in December 2024.

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