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
Matthias Alexander Castrén’s (1813–1852) Luentoja suomalaisesta mytologiasta (’Lectures on Finnish Mythology’, originally Swedish ’Föreläsningar i finsk mytologi’) is a key work in the research history of Finnish mythology. This is the first Finnish translation of it. Despite ’Lectures’ in the label, the work is a coherent book. It makes a systematic approach to ancient Finnish religion on the basis of earlier mythographers, Castrén’s fieldwork among Finnic peoples and the latest European research trends of the first half of the 19th century. Even though Castrén’s Lectures significantly developed Finnish mythography and it served as a standard work for half a century, its significance was largely forgotten when new research paradigms were introduced in the course of the 20th century.
The work is an important part of the history of Finnish research in religions, linguistics and ethnography and it also reflects the state of the study of mythology in Europe in the middle of the 19th century. The book is lively written and therefore, it meets the taste of the general public in addition to researchers. This edition includes a concise introduction to Lectures’ historical context, a scientific commentary and exhaustive indexes.
M. A. Castrén is renown especially as a linguist and explorer who worked among Siberian peoples but his work was marked also by interest in Finnishness at a time when the idea of a Finnish nation was developing. Lectures was Castrén’s last work. He finished the book in his deathbed, and it was published posthumously in 1853.
The translator and editor of the Lectures, Joonas Ahola, PhD, is an expert in Old Norse language and mythology as well as kalevala-meter poetry. The other author of the introduction, Karina Lukin, PhD, is an expert of North Siberian cultures and 19th century expeditions among them.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
In any society, communicative activities are organized into models of conduct that differentiate specific social practices from each other and enable people to communicate with each other in ways distinctive to those practices. The articles in this volume investigate a series of locale-specific models of communicative conduct, or registers of communication, through which persons organize their participation in varied social practices, including practices of politics, religion, schooling, migration, trade, media, verbal art, and ceremonial ritual. Drawing on research traditions on both sides of the Atlantic, the authors of these articles bring together insights from a variety of scholarly disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, folklore, literary studies, and philology. They describe register models associated with a great many forms of interpersonal behavior, and, through their own multi-year and multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts, bring register phenomena into focus as features of social life in the lived experience of people in societies around the world.Book Details
The chapters of Fibula, Fabula, Fact – The Viking Age in Finland are intended to provide essential foundations for approaching the important topic of the Viking Age in Finland. These chapters are oriented to provide introductions to the sources, methods and perspectives of diverse disciplines in a way that is accessible to specialists from other fields, specialists from outside Finland, and also to non-specialist readers and students who may be more generally interested in the topic. Rather than detailed case studies, the contributors have sought to negotiate definitions of the Viking Age as a historical period in the cultural areas associated with modern-day Finland, and in areas associated with Finns, Karelians and other North Finnic linguistic-cultural groups more generally. Within the incredible diversity of data and disciplines represented here, the Viking Age tends to be distinguished by differentiating it from earlier and later periods, while the geographical space is quite fluidly defined for this era, which was long before the construction of modern nations with their fenced and guarded borders. Most significantly, the contributions lay emphasis on contextualizing the Viking Age within the complexities of defining cultural identities in the past through traces of cultural, linguistic or genetic features.
The volume opens with a general introduction to the topic that is intended to provide a frame of reference for discussion, paralleled by a closing afterward. The following chapters are organized according to three thematic sections which reflect the three aspects of any discussion of the Viking Age in Finland: Time, Space, and People – because any discussion of the ‘Viking Age’ in ‘Finland’ is necessarily concerned with individuals, societies and cultures.Book Details
In this study, I examine the life narrative of a female factory labourer, Elsa Koskinen (née Kiikkala, born in 1927). I analyze her account of her experiences related to work, class and gender because I seek to gain a better understanding of how changes in these aspects of life influenced the ways in which she saw her own worth at the time of the interviews and how she constructed her subjectivity. Elsa’s life touches upon many of the core aspects of 20th-century social change: changes in women’s roles, the entrance of middle- class women into working life, women’s increasing participation in the public sphere, feminist movements, upward social mobility, the expansion of the middle class, the growth of welfare and the appearance of new technologies. What kind of trajectory did Elsa take in her life? What are the key narratives of her life? How does her narrative negotiate the shifting cultural ideals of the 20th century?A life story, a retrospective evaluation of a life lived, is one means of constructing continuity and dealing with the changes that have affected one’s life, identity and subjectivity. In narrating one’s life, the narrator produces many different versions of her/him self in relation to other people and to the world. These dialogic selves and their relations to others may manifest internal contradictions. Contradictions may also occur in relation to other narratives and normative discourses. Both of these levels, subjective meaning making and the negotiation of social ideals and collective norms, are embedded in life narratives.
My interest in this study is in the ways in which gender and class intersect with paid labour in the life of an ordinary female factory worker. I approach gender, class and work from both an experiential and a relational perspective, considering the power of social relationships and subject formations that shape individual life at the micro-level. In her narratives Elsa discusses ambivalence related to gendered ideals, social class, and especially the phenomenon of social climbing as well as technological advance.
I approach Elsa’s life and narratives ethnographically. The research material was acquired in a long-standing interview process and the analysis is based on reflexivity of the dialogic knowledge production and contextualization of Elsa’s experiences. In other words I analyze Elsa’s narratives in their situational but also socio-cultural and historical contexts. Specific episodes in one’s life and other significant events constitute smaller narrative entities, which I call micro-narratives. The analysis of micro-narratives, key dialogues and cultural ideals embedded in the interview dialogues offers perspectives on experiences of social change and the narrator’s sense of self.
This book is part of the Studia Fennica Ethnologica series.Book Details
Mythic discourses in the present day show how vernacular heritage continues to function and be valuable through emergent interpretations and revaluations. At the same time, continuities in mythic images, motifs, myths and genres reveal the longue durée of mythologies and their transformations. The eighteen articles of Mythic Discourses address the many facets of myth in Uralic cultures, from the Finnish and Karelian world-creation to Nenets shamans, offering multidisciplinary perspectives from twenty eastern and western scholars.
The mythologies of Uralic peoples differ so considerably that mythology is approached here in a broad sense, including myths proper, religious beliefs and associated rituals. Traditions are addressed individually, typologically, and in historical perspective. The range and breadth of the articles, presenting diverse living mythologies, their histories and relationships to traditions of other cultures such as Germanic and Slavic, all come together to offer a far richer and more developed perspective on Uralic traditions than any one article could do alone.Book Details
Saamentutkimus tänään is an introduction to the Sámi studies, i.e. the scientific study of the Sámi people. It gives many-faceted basic information of the Sámi people and presents up-to-date views of the disciplines related to the Sámi studies, e.g. history, archeology, genetics, linguistics, comparative religion, folkloristics, ethnology etc. It provides scientifically based knowledge of the Sámi during the prehistory and pre-Christianity, dealing with reindeer herding, handicraft, the Sámi languages, Sámi literature and art and civil right questions, including participation in the international movement of the indigenous people. All the authors are eminent experts of their scholarly fields, and all the articles have been revised by the Academic representatives of the Sámi themselves.Book Details
Words as Events introduces the tradition of short, communicative rhyming couplets, the mantinádes, as still sung and recited in a variety of performance situations on the island of Crete. Recently, these poems have also entered modern mass media and they are widely being exchanged as text messages by Cretans. Focusing on the multi-functionality of the short form, Sykäri demonstrates how the traditional register gives voice to individual experiences in spontaneous utterances. The local focus on communicative economy and artistry is further examined in a close analysis of the processes and ideals of composition. By analyzing how the “restrictions” of form and performative conventions in fact generate impulses of creativity, the author creates a theoretical approach that is sensitive to the special characteristics of the short, rhymed poetic traditions.
In this interdisciplinary study, the reader is invited to become familiar with the current folklore theory of oral poetry, which has a long tradition in Finland. The author combines the results of earlier folkloristic and anthropological insights, and extends the theoretical concerns further to address questions of spontaneity and individual agency. The research data has been produced in communicative interactions during long-term fieldwork. As a result, the short, rhymed poetry, often neglected by scholars in earlier research paradigms, can now be seen in new light – specifically as dialogic poetry – through its extended, multi-layered dialogic qualities.Book Details
Between 1935 and 1970 the Irish Folklore Commission (Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann), under-funded and at great personal cost to its staff, assembled one of the world’s largest folklore collections. This study draws on the extensive government files on the Commission in the National Archives of Ireland and on a wide variety of other primary and secondary sources, in order to recount and assess the work and achievement of this world-famous institute. The cultural, linguistic, political and ideological factors that had a bearing on the establishment and making permanent of the Commission and that impinged on many aspects of its work are here elucidated. The genesis of the Commission is traced and the vision and mission of its Honorary Director, Séamus Ó Duilearga (James Hamilton Delargy), is outlined. The negotiations that preceded the setting up of the Commission in 1935 as well as protracted efforts from 1940 to 1970 to place it on a permanent foundation are recounted and examined at length. All the various collecting programmes and other activities of the Commission are described in detail and many aspects of its work are assessed and, in some cases, reassessed. This study also deals with the working methods and conditions of employment of the Commission’s field and Head Office staff as well with Séamus Ó Duilearga’s direction of the Commission.Book Details