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
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
Democracy is today a concept that is overwhelmingly positively evaluated almost everywhere. A lot has been written about socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of democratic regimes as well as their institutional settings. By contrast, not much is known about the political manoeuvres and speech acts by which 'democracy' has been tied to particular regions and cultures in concrete historical situations.
This book discusses a series of efforts to rhetorically produce a particular Nordic version of democracy. It shows that the rhetorical figure 'Nordic democracy' was a product of the age of totalitarianism and the Cold War. It explores the ways in which 'Nordic democracy' was used, mainly by the social democrats, to provide the welfare politics with cultural and historical legitimacy and foundations. Thus, it also acknowledges the ideological and geopolitical context in which the 'Nordic welfare state' was conceptualised and canonised.
The contributors of the book are specialists on Nordic politics and history, who share a particular interest in political rhetoric and conceptual history.Book Details