Migrants and Literature in Finland and Sweden presents new comparative perspectives on transnational literary studies. This collection provides a contribution to the production of new narratives of the nation. The focus of the contributions is contemporary fiction relating to experiences of migration. The volume discusses multicultural writing, emerging modes of writing and generic innovations.
When people are in motion, it changes nations, cultures and peoples. The volume explores the ways in which transcultural connections have affected the national self-understanding in the Swedish and Finnish context. It also presents comparative aspects on the reception of literary works and explores the intersectional perspectives of identities including class, gender, ethnicity, ‘race’ and disability. Further, it also demonstrates the complexity of grouping literatures according to nation and ethnicity.
The case-studies are divided into three chapters: II ‘Generational Shifts’, III ‘Reception and Multicultural Perspectives’ and IV ‘Writing Migrant Identities’. The migration of Finnish labourers to Sweden is reflected in Satu Gröndahl’s and Kukku Melkas’s contributions to this volume, the latter also discusses material related to the placing of Finnish war children (‘krigsbarn’) in Sweden during World War II. Migration between Russia and Finland is discussed by Marja Sorvari, while Johanna Domokos attempts at mapping the Finnish literary field and offering a model for literary analysis. Transformations of the Finnish literary field are also the focus of Hanna-Leena Nissilä’s article discussing the reception of novels by a selection of women authors with an im/migrant background. The African diaspora and the arrival of refugees to Europe from African countries due to wars and political conflicts in the 1970s is the backdrop of Anne Heith’s analysis of migration and literature, while Pirjo Ahokas deals with literature related to the experiences of a Korean adoptee in Sweden. Migration from Africa to Sweden also forms the setting of Eila Rantonen’s article about a novel by a successful, Swedish author with roots in Tunisia. Exile, gender and disability are central, intertwined themes of Marta Ronne’s article, which discusses the work of a Swedish-Latvian author who arrived in Sweden in connection to World War II.
This collection is of particular interest to students and scholars in literary and Nordic studies as well as transnational and migration studies.Book Details
This study examines the narrative tools, techniques, and structures that Marja-Liisa Vartio, a classic of Finnish post-war modernism, used in presenting fictional minds in her narrative prose. The study contributes to the academic discussion on formal and thematic conventions of modernism by addressing the ways in which fictional minds work in interaction, and in relation to the enfolding fictional world. The epistemic problem of how accurately the world, the self, and the other can be known is approached by analyzing two co-operating ways of portraying fictional minds, both from external and internal perspectives. The external perspective relies on detachment and emotional restraint dominating in Vartio’s early novels Se on sitten kevät and Mies kuin mies, tyttö kuin tyttö. The internal perspective pertains to the mental processes of self-reflection, speculation, and excessive imagining that gain more importance in her later novels Kaikki naiset näkevät unia, Tunteet, and Hänen olivat linnut.
In the theoretical chapter of this study, fictional minds are discussed in the context of the acclaimed “inward turn” of modernist fiction, by suggesting alternative methods for reading modernist minds as embodied, emotional, and social entities. In respect to fictional minds’ interaction, this study elaborates on the ideas of “mind-reading,” “intersubjectivity,” and the “social mind” established within post-classical cognitive narratology. Furthermore, it employs possible world poetics when addressing the complexity, incompleteness, and (in)accessibility of Vartio’s epistemic worlds, including the characters’ private worlds of knowledge, beliefs, emotions, hallucinations, and dreams. In regards to the emotional emplotment of fictional worlds, this study also benefits from affective narratology as well as the plot theory being influenced by possible world semantics, narrative dynamics, and cognitive narratology.
As the five analysis chapters of this study show, fictional minds in Vartio’s fiction are not only introspective, solipsist, and streaming, but also embodied and social entities. In the readings of the primary texts, the concept of embodiedness is used to examine the situated presence of an experiencing mind within the time and space of the storyworld. Fictional minds’ (inter)actions are also demonstrated as evolving from local experientiality to long-term calculations that turn emotional incidents into episodes, and episodes into stories. In Vartio’s novels, the emotional story structure of certain conventional story patterns, such as the narratives of female development and the romance plot, the sentimental novel, and epistolary fiction, are modified and causally altered in the portrayal of the embodied interactions between the self, the other, and the world. The trajectories of female self-discovery in Vartio’s novels are analyzed through the emotional responses of characters: their experiences of randomness, their ways of counterfactualizing their traumatic past, their procrastinatory or akratic reactions or indecisiveness. The gradual move away from the percepts of the external world to the excessive imaginings and (mis)readings of other minds (triggered by the interaction of worlds and minds), challenges the contemporary and more recent accounts of modernism both in Finnish and international contexts.Book Details
Gendered and sexualized abuse and other forms of violence are visibly present in the culture of the third millennium. Especially bodies that are gendered as female are – both dead and alive – objects of multiple forms of abuse and violence in the texts and imageries of contemporary culture. Men, on the other hand, are often represented as abusive towards women and as the violent gender or, as targets of other men’s violence. Structural violence has also an impact on many areas of everyday life, and it is materialized in, for example discrimination and inequality.
Gender and Violence: The Ethics and Politics of Reading scrutinizes gendered violence as a complex phenomenon of contemporary culture. The authors study the ways in which ways representations of violence can be read, viewed and received. They also discuss what kind of politics the violent representations implement and actualize, and how they affect their audience.
Gender and Violence takes a critical stance on the intersections of gender, power, and violence in literature, film, television and the internet. The analysis focuses on, for example, sci-fi, Nordic Noir and North American comedy series, poems, young adult literature (YA) and nationalist blog texts. The book presents both Finnish and international academic discussions, in which researchers in the fields of gender studies, arts and literature, and cultural studies challenge contemporary English abstract 279 understanding of gender, sexuality, power, and violence. Moreover, Gender and Violence provides tools for critical discussions on violence and in-depth scrutiny about its cost on all of us.
Gender and Violence is an anthology of academic research articles. It works well as an academic textbook, but it also provides timely and new knowledge for everyone interested in questions of gender and violence – phenomena that touch upon all of us.Book Details
When Aleksis Kivi’s (1834–1872) Finnish tragedy Karkurit (‘The Escapees’) was originally published in 1867 it was considered better than his two former plays, the Kalevalaic tragedy Kullervo (1864) and the comedy Nummisuutarit (‘Heath Cobblers’, 1864). Soon these encouraging views, however, turned completely opposite. Dismissing attitudes towards Kivi’s play were dominant until the 1960s when new theatre productions made its artistic merits worthy of consideration again. The critical edition of Karkurit gives a new and more versatile image of Aleksis Kivi as a playwright and helps to understand his tragedy in the light of the changing artistic ideals of different periods and generations.
The edition contains a scholarly edited and richly annotated text of the tragedy’s first edition. Expert introductions by leading authorities illuminate the multidimensional dramaturgy of the play and reflect its relation to the European drama traditions and the socio-historical context of 19th-century Finland. In addition, the introductory articles analyse Kivi’s pioneering blank verse dialogues and discuss how Karkurit was published and performed from the 19th century up to the present day.
The appendices include, among others, versatile text-critical apparatuses, an overview of the first Swedish dramatization of the tragedy (1872) and an earlier version of the play, an excerpt that was originally published in a magazine one year prior to the first edition of the drama.
Edith – Critical Editions of Finnish Literature
Edith editions are based on scholarly analysis of manuscripts, first editions and other historical sources. They reflect and clarify Finnish literary culture for scholars, teachers and other readers interested in literature.
Songs and writings: oral and literary cultures in early-modern Finland renews the understanding of exchange between the learned culture of clergymen and the culture of commoners, or “folk”. What happened when the Reformation changed the position of the oral vernacular language to literary and ecclesiastical, and when folk beliefs seem to have become an object for more intensive surveillance and correction? How did clergymen understand and use the versatile labels of popular belief, paganism, superstition and Catholic fermentation?
Why did they choose particular song languages, poetic modes and melodies for their Lutheran hymns and literary poems, and why did they avoid oral poetics in certain contexts while accentuating it in others? How were the hagiographical traditions representing the international medieval literary or “great” tradition adapted to “small” folk traditions, and how did they persist and change after the Reformation? What happened to the cult of the Virgin Mary in local oral traditions?
The first Finnish 16th-century reformers admired the new Germanic models of Lutheran congregational hymns and avoided the Finnic vernacular Kalevala-metre idiom, while their successors picked up many vernacular traits, most notably alliteration, in their ecclesiastical poetry and hymns. Over the following centuries, the new features introduced via new Lutheran hymns such as accentual metres, end-rhymes and strophic structures were infusing into oral folk poetry, although this took place also via secular oral and literary routes. On the other hand, seventeenth-century scholars cultivated a new academic interest in what they understood as “ancient Finnish poetry”.
The book has an extensive English Summary for the international readership.Book Details
Finland-Swedish writer Monika Fagerholm is one of the most important contemporary Nordic authors. Her experimental, puzzling and daring novels, such as Underbara kvinnor vid vatten (1994) and Den amerikanska flickan (2004), have attracted much critical attention. She has won several literary awards, including the Nordic prize from the Swedish Academy in 2016; her works have travelled across national and cultural borders as they have now been translated in USA, Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. Fagerholm’s wild and visionary depictions of girlhood have long had an impact on the Nordic literary landscape; currently, she has many literary followers among young female writers and readers in Finland and Sweden. Novel Districts. Critical Readings of Monika Fagerholm is the first major study of Fagerholm’s works. In this edited volume, literary scholars explore the central themes and features that permeate Fagerholm’s works and introduce novel ways to understand and interpret her writings. The book begins with an introduction to her life, letters and the minority literature context of her writing and briefly describes the scholarship on Fagerholm’s works. After that, Finnish and Swedish scholars and experts on Fagerholm scrutinize her oeuvre in the light of up-to-date literary theory. The insights, theories and concepts of gender, feminist and girlhood studies as well as narratology, poststructuralism, posthumanism and reception studies are tested in close readings of Fagerholm’s works published between 1990 and 2012. Thus, the volume enhances and deepens the understanding of Fagerholm’s fiction and invites the attention of readers not yet familiar with her work. The articles demonstrate the multitude of ways in which literary and cultural conventions can be innovatively re-employed within 20th and 21th century literature to reveal new perspectives on contemporary Finnish and Nordic literature and ongoing cultural and social developments.Book Details
The poem Kalevipoeg, over 19,000 lines in length, was composed by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882) on the basis on folklore material. It was published in an Estonian-German bilingual edition in six instalments between 1857 and 1861; it went on to become the Estonian national epic. This first English-language monograph on the Kalevipoeg sheds light on various aspects of the emergence, creation and reception of the text. The first chapter sketches the objectives of the book and gives a short summary of the contents of the twenty tales of the epic, while the second chapter treats the significance of the epic against the cultural background of nineteenth-century Estonia.
The third chapter scrutinizes the emergence of the text in more detail and, in its second part, takes a closer look at the many intertextual connections and the traces the epic material has left in Estonian literature up to the present time. The fourth chapter is a detailed case study of one debated passage of the fifteenth tale.
The fifth and the six chapters deal with the German reception of the epic, which partly took place earlier than the reception in Estonia. In the fifth chapter, the first reviews and an early treatise by the German scholar Wilhelm Schott (1863) are discussed. The sixth chapter presents the new genre of ‘rewritings’ of the epic – texts which cannot be labelled as translations but are rather new creations on the basis of Kreutzwald’s text.
In the seventh chapter several versions of these retellings and adaptations are compared in order to show the stability of some core material conveyed by various authors. A concluding chapter stresses the significance of foreign reception in the canonization process of the Kalevipoeg. At the end, a comprehensive bibliography and an index are added.Book Details
This book presents current discussions on the concept of genre. It introduces innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to contemporary and historical genres, their roles in cultural discourse, how they change, and their relations to each other.
The reader is guided into the discussion surrounding this key concept and its history through a general introduction, followed by eighteen chapters that represent a variety of discursive practices as well as analytic methods from several scholarly traditions.
This volume will have wide appeal to several academic audiences within the humanities, both in Finland and abroad, and will especially be of interest to scholars of folklore, language and cultural expression.Book Details
This volume addresses the prominent, and in many ways highly similar, role that historical fiction has played in the formation of the two neighbouring 'young nations', Finland and Estonia. It gives a multi-sided overview of the function of the historical novel during different periods of Finnish and Estonian history from the 1800s until the present day, and it provides detailed close-readings of selected authors and literary trends in their social, political and cultural contexts. This book addresses nineteenth-century 'fictional foundations', historical fiction of the new nation states in the interwar period as well as post-Second World War Soviet Estonian novels and modern historiographic metafiction.Book Details
Helsinki in Early Twentieth-Century Literature analyses experiences of the Finnish capital in prose fiction published in Finnish in the period 1890–1940. It examines the relationships that are formed between Helsinki and fictional characters, focusing, especially, on the way in which urban public space is experienced. Particular attention is given to the description of movement through urban space. The primary material consists of a selection of more than sixty novels, collections of short stories and individual short stories. This study draws on two sets of theoretical frameworks: on the one hand, the expanding field of literary studies of the city, and on the other hand, concepts provided by humanistic and critical geography, as well as by urban studies.
This study is the first monograph to examine Helsinki in literature written in Finnish. It shows that rich descriptions of urban life have formed an integral part of Finnish literature from the late nineteenth century onward.Around the turn of the twentieth century, literary Helsinki was approached from a variety of generic and thematic perspectives which were in close dialogue with international contemporary traditions and age-old images of the city, and defined by events typical of Helsinki’s own history. Helsinki literature of the 1920s and 1930s further developed the defining traits that took form around the turn of the century, adding a number of new thematic and stylistic nuances. The city experience was increasingly aestheticized and internalized. As the centre of the city became less prominent in literature,the margins of the city and specific socially defined neighbourhoods gained in importance.
Many of the central characteristics of how Helsinki is experienced in the literature published during this period remain part of the ongoing discourse on literary Helsinki: Helsinki as a city of leisure and light, inviting dreamy wanderings; the experience of a city divided along the fault lines of gender,class and language; the city as a disorientating and paralyzing cesspit of vice;the city as an imago mundi, symbolic of the body politic; the city of everyday and often very mundane experiences, and the city that invites a profound sense of attachment – an environment onto which characters project their innermost sentiments.Book Details