CfP: Bergman Obscure

Ingmar Bergman with Sven Nykvist (1961). SF press photo.

We invite book chapter proposals to be included in a forthcoming scholarly volume on hitherto unknown features of Ingmar Bergman’s works. We welcome proposals for essays that either discuss a film not widely discussed in the Bergman reception or highlight an undisclosed characteristic of Bergman’s work. The volume will be edited by Dr Torgeir Fjeld and Dr Jytte Holmqvist.

Bergman remains Swedish cinema’s most renowned auteur: Directors such as Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese have all acknowledged Bergman’s profound influence and recent biopics from Margarethe von Trotta (Searching for Bergman, 2018) and Mia Hansen-Løve (Bergman Island, 2021), continue to affirm his enduring legacy. Nevertheless, a significant portion of Bergman’s extensive filmography remains relatively unexposed to academic scrutiny. This collection aims to rectify this gap in the scholarly debate on Bergman by placing a particular emphasis on the lesser-known films and marginalized aspects of Bergman’s work. We seek to analyze films that were deemed commercial or artistic failures, asking how they can be reassessed today and why they hold renewed importance.

Two domains are of particular interest: first, Bergman’s psychologically dark and explorative films continue to provoke viewers in the way their protagonists tend to be pushed to the edge of sanity. Often these characters’ onscreen conundrums spill over into our off-screen reality, leaving us, too, reeling and bewildered. We are interested in chapters that investigate this blurring of diegetic levels and that further consider how author, viewer and work tend to get entangled in the case of Bergman. Second, we are looking for specific cases where troubles in the extra-diegetic, or “real” world enter into Bergman’s narrative universe. As an example, Life of the Marionettes and The Serpent’s Egg were created at a time when Bergman sought refuge in Germany after having been exposed and vilified in his native Sweden. These films provide windows into Bergman’s complex love-hate relationship with that country. despite having put the nation on the global cinematic map. We are interested in cases where films are analyzed through the lenses of socio-political and existentialist perspectives, unearthing the tensions and motivations that influenced their creation.

Chapters may investigate a particular film or films, one or more of Bergman’s productions for the stage, his written output, or other elements of his rich and expansive biography. Areas of inquiry can include, but are not limited to the following questions:

To submit a proposal email your abstract (150-300 words) and short author bio (no more than 100 words) to by September 1, 2024. Chapters should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words.

The book will be published by a major publisher. Chapters will undergo peer review.


Please do not hesitate to get in touch on email with any questions!