Jakob Guðmundur Rúnarsson: Entertaining, informative and pragmatic. The philosophical underpinnings of the editorial direction of Iðunn, 1915–23
Between 1915 and 1923 Ágúst H. Bjarnason (1875–1952) published and edited a magazine titled Iðunn. Its popularity enabled him to reach a sizable audience and to actively engage in the public debate. By applying what has been termed the “antithesis model” to interpret the cultural discourse of the interwar era in Iceland, Bjarnason’s work has typically been seen as an example of the conservative, nationalistic and culturally reactionary position taken by a number of public intellectuals at the time. A closer examination of the editorial decisions and the content Bjarnason published in Iðunn reveals a much more nuanced confrontation with modernity where his own philosophical stance plays a crucial role. The rise of modernity and the issues of modern life were to be tackled on the grounds of modern science, not to be met with nostalgia for the past.
Keywords: Iðunn, Ágúst H. Bjarnason, literary realism, modernization, conservativism, literary criticism, philosophy