The First-ever. Porthan statue by Carl Eneas Sjöstrand<
The nineteenth century has been called an age of monuments. In some places even one piece made a difference. This book is a study of the intellectual background and physical making of Finland’s first public sculpture, the statue of Professor Henrik Gabriel Porthan by Carl Eneas Sjöstrand. The idealised but sombre Porthan was born under the influence of German neoclassicism. Development on the project was slow but sure. The Swedish artist had to be supported over three years while he was putting together his first monumental piece in Munich and Rome, after which came another three years wait before the cast arrived to Finland. The bronze sculpture, commissioned by the Finnish Literary Society and raised by public subscriptions from people of all classes, was unveiled in the city of Turku in September 1864. Finns took some pride in the fact that, unlike other nations that had raised monuments to kings and generals, here the first place was given to a scholar. In this study Sjöstrand’s pioneering bronze is placed in a wider context and compared with works by his precursors and contemporaries in the international sculptor colony of Rome.Book Details
The Land of Hope. University students’ travelogues during the age of autonomy
Finland was an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire during the years 1808–1917. At this time nationalism as well as other ideologies reached Finland from Europe, which strengthened the willingness to change both in society and on a governmental level. The Fennoman movement, which was a movement focusing both on language and on nationalism, became the core of the Finnish self-perception. The goal was to define Finland as a coherent and separate country in relation to its neighbouring countries. Collecting folk poems and learning to know one’s home country became essential. People saw the Kalevala poems as a way to understand and define the Finnish identity and the history of the Finnish people.
Especially young people with a background in academia were intrigued by these ideas. University students collected poems all over the Grand Duchy of Finland as well as in the Russian part of Carelia, in Sweden, Norway and in Ingria. Students who collected these folk poems also wrote travelogues about their travels and all this material was handed over to The Finnish Literature Society. These documents are unique and there has not been much research done on them, especially with the focus on how the young academic generation during the age of autonomy defined their home country, their national self-perception, themselves and the commoners living in the rural parts of the country.
This book reviews travelogues written by one hundred university students who travelled in the country collecting folk poems during 1836–1917. The book offers insight into how the students described Finland and what it meant to be Finnish. Travelogues can be defined as a sort of hybrid of texts. They consist of a mixture of letters, journals, biographical texts and travel books. Consequently, the image that the students depict of Finland is in this study based upon research perspectives and methods used in textual research, oral history and travel literature. The travelogues written by students previously evoked the interest of researchers who mainly studied certain traits of poem collectors, tradition bearers or poems. However, the travelogues contain plenty of information about the lives of the people who lived in the areas where the poems were collected.
The descriptions of Finland in the travelogues do not represent the “real” 19th century Finland, but instead it is a story written and created by university students. The characteristics that are presented in The Land of Hope are based on how the intelligentsia perceived “real” Finnishness as opposed to the uneducated commoners living in the rural parts of the country. The most notable themes in the travelogues are the state and the future of the society and of being Finnish. Another theme is the otherization of those who were uneducated commoners. These themes describe the fears and hopes that university students had about Finland. They also show us that the travelogues were ideological texts about Finland and Finnishness that united the collectors of folk poetry.
This book studies the collection of folk poetry in the context of the ideologies during the age of autonomy and it explains what the collection of poems meant and who were involved in it. Furthermore, the book gives an insight into the possibilities to pursue academic studies and it also presents the most essential sources of students’ knowledge about Finland at that point of time.Book Details
Church, clergy, and society in Finland, 1600–1800
It is generally recognized that in early modern society, the position of the church and clergy was very central. As many historians have stated over the decades, the church and state were closely connected and their power structures and ideologies supported each other. However, when studying the social and public role of the church and clergy, it soon becomes quite clear how pervasive this phenomenon was. The church not only created but also maintained and acted as a part of international, national, and local communities, structures, and cultures that connected people regardless of their social status and gender. The church was a spiritual, administrative, and social institution and experience environment, whose tasks, scope, and meanings changed and intertwined with the development, needs, and requirements of society. In this book, we investigate from different perspectives the motives and different means by which the church and clergy came to play a significant part in early modern society.
In this volume, the church is considered both as an administrative institution and as a social space and cultural structure. Hence, we do not focus on the history of theology or doctrinal questions. Instead, we consider the social and public roles and meanings of the church. The church as such is understood in this book as transnational, a strong national and local institution, and also a space and structure. The church had its own institutionalized place in society and its activities and rights were defined by law (Church law 1696, the Law of the Swedish kingdom 1734) and by the decrees given by the Royal Majesty. The church had its own archbishop-led administrative organization under the Royal Majesty and it worked in close cooperation with the Crown administration and county governors. In this volume, we understand the clergy as church servants, a trained and appointed professional group, a separate estate (social class), and also as a wide social network constructed by their families.
The approach of this book is social science history. In other words, the book examines the church and the clergy as an integral part of society and the individual communities who lived in the current Finnish territory during the early modern era. The topic is examined on the basis of three conceptual themes reflecting important new areas of research in the study of the social significance of the church and clergy: (1) the clergy and family as part of the community, (2) the church as a jointly built space, and (3) the church as an arena for interaction, knowledge, and politics. We approach this multidimensionality using different research questions, sources, methods, and theoretical approaches. The volume focuses on the 17th to 19th centuries, but many of the church and clergy-related phenomena are much older, and some of them extend to the present, so the articles also move beyond this time frame.Book Details
Live, Experience, Understand. The Life of Alex Matson
Alex Matson (1888–1972) is an important Finnish literary critic and essayist, whose literary reviews and collections of essays have made a vital contribution to the development of Finland's postwar literary generation. Born in Finland as the son of a sailor, Matson moved as a young child with his family to Hull in England, where he went to school. In the 1910s, he moved back to Finland, where he at first established himself as painter associated with the expressionist November Group, an important Finnish artistic movement at the time. In the interbellum, he moved from fine arts to literature. In the 1920s and 1930s, he published several novels, but more important was his work as transmitter of international literary ideas to Finland. Together with his first wife, Kersti Bergroth, he edited the literary journal Sininen kirja ("The Blue Book"; 1927–1930), which was inspired by the writings of John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield. Sininen kirja is the most international literary journal in Finnish history to date and introduced Finland to the most significant modernist writers of the first half of the 20th century (Gottfried Benn, Jean Cocteau, Alfred Döblin, T. S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Paul Valéry, Virginia Woolf).
During the Second World War, Matson worked for the State Communications Agency, which was responsible for disseminating relevant information about Finland to other nations and for informing Finns of relevant developments abroad. It was also tasked with studying the prevailing mood among the population in Finland. In Matson's unpublished wartime diaries, one can see the first symptoms of a shift in Finnish culture away from Germany and towards Anglo-Saxon culture.
From the 1940s onwards, Matson recommended new English and American novels as a part of his work as reader for Finnish publishing houses, and he also translated works by Joyce, Hemingway and Steinbeck. With the help of a network of international literary critics, Matson became acquainted with New Criticism, which he introduced to Finland before it became established among academic researchers. He was often critical of academic literary studies, but his seminal essay works Romaanitaide ("On the Prose Novel"; 1947), John Steinbeck (1948), Kaksi mestaria ("Two Masters", on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky; 1950) as well as his impressive conversational skills were instrumental in introducing knowledge about the principles of the prose novel to several authors (including Väinö Linna, Lauri Viita, and Hannu Salama), and contributed to their views of literature. Matson emphasized the importance of reading and understanding high-quality literature for the wellbeing of society.Book Details
Humbuggery and madness. The reception of new art in the 1910s in Finland
If the artworld is a battlefield of meanings, the fortunes of discourse did not favour avant-garde art in Finland in the 1910s. The latest trends, introduced by German and Russian artists in three pioneering exhibitions in Helsinki in 1914 and 1916, were dismissed by the Finnish press as foolish and unworthy. This book researches the contemporary reactions and contents of these exhibitions. The works shown in Helsinki included masterpieces from artists such as Chagall, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, Marc, Münter and Rozanova. Today these works can be found in the collections of leading museums in Europe, Russia and the USA. From the Finnish perspective, the turndown in the 1910s proved effective and irreversible. Never again have the local collections had similar opportunities to make a purchase. The rejection of radical international developments and emphasis on narrow nationalistic views left Finnish art lagging behind. This trend was already apparent in 1917 in St. Petersburg, where the Finnish artists were celebrated but their paintings deemed sombre and superannuated.Book Details
The Nature of Words. Writings on the Poetics and Environments of Vernacular Expression
In recent decades, the focus of Folklore Studies has shifted from analysing the products of oral traditions as texts to examining the ways in which people use and produce these items, and the areas of study have broadened to include vernacular cultures and genres in diverse verbal and material forms. As evident from the introduction and twelve chapters of this collection, these interests are today shared by several disciplines that cooperate in the area of cultural studies. This book provides insights into current questions about the “nature” of words: it discusses both the inherent essence of vernacular expression and how that essence is tied to various genre-ecological, performative, and material environments. The chapters include studies on the poetics, form, function, performance, and composition of traditional and new vernacular forms, including explorations of hybridity, materiality, and change, as well as critical examinations of archival practices and publication processes.Book Details
Saint Mechthild’s Revelations
Mechthild of Hackeborn represents medieval mysticism. Her Revelations were written down in the 1290s in Helfta, Germany. The oldest surviving versions are in Latin, but in the Middle Ages, the Revelations were translated at least into Dutch, English, Swedish, and German. The text was translated into Swedish in 1469 by Jöns Budde, a Bridgettine brother from Naantali. Budde made few omissions but many additions in the text, mainly explanations to meet the needs of the Bridgettine sisters. Budde’s translation is faithful to the original text, and he made few mistakes. My Finnish translation of the text follows Budde’s version where possible. However, Budde translated an abridged version that omitted some chapters, and the only surviving copy of Budde’s translation is incomplete. I have therefore translated the missing sections from Latin and incorporated them in the text. My translation also includes editorial comments on the language, the contents, and the historical and theological contexts of the Revelations.Book Details
Health History. Viewpoints and Approaches from the Middle Ages to the Present
This book deals with approaches, sources, and methods in health history from the middle ages to the twentieth century. Individual chapters demonstrate how historians of medicine and health choose their methodological approaches and form interpretations from primary sources. They discuss the practices of writing and show how obstacles in the research process can be overcome. Practical examples of source materials, used methods and research challenges give tools to students for carrying out projects independently and help them to understand different possibilities in the field of health history. In this book, history of health includes but is not limited to medical science. Emphasising medical pluralism, it places (public) health in a cultural and social field encompassing official and unofficial practitioners, medical institutions, and patients. Individual case studies highlight themes in Finnish, European, and African history.Book Details
A Guide to Studying the History of Childhood: Multidisciplinary Perspectives and Methods
This edited volume is a handbook of research methodologies for the history of childhood. The history of childhood is a vibrant, multidisciplinary field that incorporates a rich variety of methodological approaches developed in disciplines across the social sciences and humanities, including archaeology, education, ethnology, literature, and history. The volume presents a collection of chapters that engage a range of different research traditions and employ different research material, conceptual tools, and methods of analysis for the historical study of childhood. In doing so, the volume attends to issues specific to the study of children and childhood, such as those related to research ethics and the theoretical complexities of defining ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’. While the central focus is on the history of childhood in Finland, the volume also includes international and transnational cases, contexts, and perspectives.Book Details
The Pleasure of the Text. From Reading a Picture to the Act of Writing
The book explores the discourses of modernism, contemporary art and art history writing as well as their interdisciplinary values and boundaries – and cases that do not fit within these boundaries.The articles explore the meanings of junk and relics, high art, design, and the intimate experience of art and public criticism. The themes explored in the book expand our views on the queer potential of colour, the meaning of detail, and the relationships between visual art and writing.
The fourteen peer-reviewed case studies in the volume offer new insights from the fields of visual cultural studies, art history and gender studies. The articles in the anthology do not rely strictly on disciplinary boundaries but also open themselves up to broader fields of culture.Book Details