- A movement in literature and art which has its origins in the German theater of the early 20th century, expressionism eschews realist representation in favor of a nonrealistic atmosphere. Expressionistic works tend to display a dreamlike quality of action, and to transmit impressions and moods through the use of objects or various literary devices. The foremost exponent of expressionism in Scandinavian literature is Par Lagerkvist, who wrote the manifesto Ordkonst och bildkonst (1913; Verbal Art and Pictorial Art) upon his return to Sweden after a stay in Paris, as well as the essay Modern te ter (1918; tr. Modern The tre, 1961), in which he argued against the dramatic practice of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and spoke in favor of the anti-realist dramaturgy of such plays as August Strindberg's Ett dromspel (1902; tr. A Dream Pl y, 1929). From drama, expressionism spread to other literary forms, such as poetry and the novel.
Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. Jan Sjavik. 2006.
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