Our headline here reflects, of course, the original title of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. The theme deservedly generated a lot more attention to the plague of violence against women, not just in Sweden but internationally (see Chapter 7 of The Tattooed Girl, for example).
Now, three Swedish academics and cultural critics — two of whom coincidentally have a direct connection to Umea, Larsson’s boyhood home — have written a new book specifically on the topic of rape in crime fiction, focused not just on Larsson and Sweden but on writers of the genre in Scandinavia, the UK, and the US as well.
We have not yet read the authors’ Rape in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy and Beyond but it is certainly worthy of attention. Here is the publisher’s blurb and the bios of the three authors:
With its powerful images of rape and revenge, Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy has made a major impact on the contemporary crime novel. This collection explores the role that rape plays in contemporary crime fiction, examining the sexually violent images at the heart of the Millennium trilogy in its many guises – from novels, to Swedish film adaptations, to Hollywood blockbuster. At the center of discussion is Larsson’s female heroine, Lisbeth Salander, one of popular culture’s most unforgettable characters. The collection evaluates her status as a twenty-first century heroine, arguing that what makes Salander so interesting and culturally relevant, is her blend of vulnerability and violence.
Putting Larsson’s work into dialogue with a range of contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone crime novelists, including Jo Nesbø, Håkan Nesser, Mo Hayder and Val McDermid, these essays offer cross-cultural insights into how notions of sexual violence, victims and vengeance are constructed. Opening up a range of vital new questions, the book interrogates the very terms by which we understand and encounter violent images in popular fiction and film.
BERIT ÅSTRÖM is a Senior Lecturer in English at Umeå University, Sweden. She currently holds an Intra-European Fellowship from Marie Curie Actions at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, where she is researching the trans-historical trope of the dead mother. She has previously published on Old English poetry and male pregnancy fan fiction.
KATARINA GREGERSDOTTER is a Senior Lecturer in English at the Department of Language Studies at Umeå University, Sweden. Her research interests include the figure of the zombie, the Scandinavian welfare state, gender and emotion studies, Margaret Atwood, and crime fiction.
TANYA HORECK is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. She has published essays in a number of journals including Screen, New Formations and Women: A Cultural Review. She is author of the book Public Rape: Representing Violation in Fiction and Film (2004) and co-editor of the collection of essays The New Extremism in Cinema: From France to Europe (2011).