Maria Karlsson

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Literature and Rhetoric

+4618-471 2955
018-471 6187
Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 P

Postal address:
Box 632
751 26 UPPSALA

Maria Karlsson, Ph.D in Literary Studies and senior lecturer in Rhetoric at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University.

My dissertation analyzed the melodramatic in novels by Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940). The thesis is gender oriented and uses theories of melodrama and narration from disciplines of literature, film, drama, Cultural Studies. Since then I have worked with the extensive archive material of Selma Lagerlöf. I was on the editorial board of a textcritical editing project (2004–2011, see and in a project about Lagerlöfs audience I investigated reading and the image of the celebrity Selma Lagerlöf as depicted in the many thousands of letters she received from the public. (Both projects funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.) My research interests are narration, genre, History of the Book, reception study, reading, popular culture, melodrama, emotion. I have written on for instance fan mail, loneliness, art and public discourse (funded by the Swedish Research Council), Swedish crime fiction. I am interested in gender and intersectionality and I was for five years employed by the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University. My most recent articles are on the art scandal and on the letters from the public to Selma Lagerlöf.

Ny teaching areas are literary studies, liberal arts, rhetoric and gender studies.

Current projects

1) A communication project, that collects, digitizes and comments letters from Selma Lagerlöf to the public. The project got funded in december 2016 and runs through 2018. It is performed in collaboration with Jenny Bergenmar, University of Gothenburg.

2) I am part of the steering committe of the interdisciplinary research program Engaging Vulnerability (EV), UU (see In my EV research project I analyze how the many thousands of those who wrote letters to Selma Lagerlöf use vulnerability as a resource to beg her for money and other favours. I will also direct research on vulnerability, narration and space. At the current I am involved in initiating a multidisciplinary research program that investigates narratives of Sweden’s biggest housing project – ”The Million Program” – usually regarded as the most vulnerable living area in the country. My own project within the latter program concerns how vulnerability is used in radio documentaries.


For a selection of publications with titles translated to/published in english, see

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Maria Karlsson