Beskrifning öfver en äfventyrlig resa: En analys av den historiska Johan Brelins olika identiteter och hans världsbild
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Abstract“Description of an adventurous journey – An analysis of the historical Johan Brelin’s different identities and his world view”. In the 1750s, the young Johan Brelin set sail on a Swedish East India Company ship heading towards Canton, modern day Guangzhou, China. During his travels, he wrote down a travelogue containing his observations of the world. While en route home towards Sweden, he accidentally got left behind on the island of Ascension. He was saved by a French ship, and after an “adventurous journey” managed to make his way back to Europe and Sweden. The purpose of this thesis is twofold. The first purpose seeks to explore the different historical identities of Johan Brelin as he is presented in previous research literature and contemporary source materials. The second purpose is focused on Brelin’s travelogue, and how he interpreted the world and created knowledge for a Swedish audience. To research the historical Johan Brelin and his identities, a methodological and theoretical framework primarily based on global microhistorical identity formation process by Dr John-Paul A. Ghobrial is employed. To analyze Brelin’s travelogue, Dr. Ghobrials microhistorical theories are employed together with Dr. Anne M. Thell’s research on travelogues along with associate professor Carina Lidström’s research on travelogue genre contracts. The results of the research shows that while Johan Brelin had a career as an inventor later on in his life, his career path and identity formation process was long and never clear, and it was partly a result of the people around him. The analysis of his travelogue shows that Brelin very much was a product of his time, his previous knowledge, network, aspirations and dreams. His travelogue also shows signs of being a part of the identity formation process, as it offers a stage where Brelin could present himself in a specific light, especially for others to see. It exemplifies the complexity of the travelogue genre as reality and fiction clash for the limited space. The research also shows the clear connection between the historical Johan Brelin’s network and interests, which shine through the travelogue. This connection would have been lost if the analysis of the historical Brelin had been ignored. The thesis thus concludes by stating the importance of analysing both the personal circumstances of the author in addition to the writing itself.