English title: The didactic fiction. The construction of role models from the perspective of literature for children and young adults 1400–1750.

Abstract: This thesis investigates the construction of role models, more specifically literary didactics and constructions of subject positions, in literary works with exemplary stories in Swedish 1400–1750, from the perspective of literature for children and young adults.

Childhood concepts, didactic concepts and subject positions presented to the reader are analyzed from the point of view of dominance and dissonance between different characters and messages. A number of themes have been chosen for a comparative study, for example: ideas about identification, the construction of subject positions and ideals for girls, the responsibility of adults, subversive tendencies, obedience or autonomy, the immoral role model as exemplary, conflicts between different childhood concepts, adults and children as role models.

A central conclusion is that there is variation when it comes to the subject positions that are constructed for children and young adults, mainly through role models. There are examples of authoritative teachings that demands the subordination and obedience of the reader/recipient, as well as encouragement of questioning and even contra conventional subject positions. One conclusion is that premodern literature for the young does not just have an authoritative tone towards the reader, but the texts also negotiates with the reader. The messages are not just about obedience and religious fidelity, but also about learning, questioning and personal, moral responsibility. A critical perspective on adults is encouraged through critizism of adults and exemplary role models. Subject positions for girls also vary in the texts. Some texts convey conventional, passive gender roles while others present active subject positions, where chastity, wisdom and manliness are presented as ideal virtues for girls.