What do writers’ museums communicate?


  • Johan Schimanski University of Oslo
  • Ulrike Spring University of Oslo




Writers’ museums often privilege the biographical person of the author rather than their literary works. Here we present a model which can be used not only as a method of analysis, but also as as an inspiration that can help create productive tensions in the exhibition of biography and works in author museums. Our departure point is that the writer’s museum is a double act of communication, or more precisely a museal act of communication about a literary act of communication. Using Roman Jakobson’s model of the communicative act, we show how museums make visible or hide different parts of the communications network, as well as what complicates this network. We use examples from the Strindberg Museum in Stockholm throughout to make an abstract argument more concrete, referring to other museums and exhibitions to provide breadth where solutions and traditions are concerned.       

Author Biographies

Johan Schimanski, University of Oslo

Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages


Ulrike Spring, University of Oslo

Department of Archeology, Conservation and History

Associate Professor



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