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
Traumatic Memory in Contemporary Prose Fiction
This is the first study to examine Finnish trauma fiction in detail. The book discusses the novels of Katja Kettu, Sofi Oksanen, Elina Hirvonen and Emmi Itäranta, where historical and collective traumas meet stories of personal vulnerability. Traumatic Memory in Contemporary Prose Fiction addresses war traumas and marks left by terrorism, colonialism, domestic violence and sexual violence, and analyses the aspects of ecological trauma and future threats.
The study combines the latest discussions on cultural memory studies and trauma theory with critical perspectives offered by feminist criticism and research in transnationalism. It illustrates how cultural narratives, literary conventions and aesthetic strategies regulate and produce traumatic experiences. Traumatic memory is not only a phenomenon dealing with the past, but it involves a wide range of individual, cultural, ecological, political and economic dimensions.Book Details
Experiences of Mental Hospitals. Spaces Engraved in Memories
Finnish psychiatric practice has been heavily based on institutionalization, and mental hospitals have played important cultural and historical roles in Finland. Our multidisciplinary research focuses on the bodily, spatial, affective, and multisensory aspects of the memories of patients, relatives, staff, and their children. The memories were collected and archived in the Finnish Literature Society in 2014–2015. These 92 written pieces cover the period from the 1930s to the 2010s. They reflect significant changes in Finnish psychiatry and provide crucial insights into the various meanings of mental hospitals in people’s lives, and the social and cultural forces that shape attitudes to and ideas about mental health problems, psychiatric care, and service users today.
Drawing on our backgrounds in history, artistic research, and visual, cultural and literary studies, we provide new ways of reading and interpreting the memories and experiences in psychiatry. The study discusses memory, mental hospitals as lived spaces, the history of Finnish psychiatry and the relation between the memories of the different groups of writers. The chapters approach memories from the perspectives of affects and atmospheres, violence and abuse, everyday life at the hospital in the 1930s, feelings of fear and safety in the memories of the children of the staff, and the historically and culturally contingent tensions between hospitals and homes.Book Details
The Place of Research on Memory-Based Knowledge. Theories, Practices and Change
The volume is a comprehensive handbook of oral history and memory studies in Finland. The Finnish research field has originally emerged at the collaborative intersection of history, folklore studies, and ethnology. Since then, this field has developed into vibrant multi- and cross-disciplinary arena characterized by a strong focus on methodological issues related to memory in culture and theoretical engagement with studies on narration and processes of remembering. The chapters of the book explore the perspectives on the production of memory-based knowledge in oral history interviews and collection campaigns of written reminiscences. Moreover, the book introduces versatile methodological approaches to the study of memory and memories, ranging from narrative to corpus analysis, and investigates the multiple media of remembrance from documentary film to museum exhibition. The chapters of the book also engage the field’s disciplinary position and interrogate the potentials and challenges related to the application of the methods of oral history research and the use of memory-based knowledge beyond academia in political, societal, and community-based projects.Book Details
The Art of Sofi Oksanen’s Novels. Narrative, Ethics, Rhetoric
Sofi Oksanen is the most visible and widely discussed Finnish author of the 21st century, yet her novels have gained less attention than her public performances. This study shifts the focus from the author’s persona to her literary art, proposing to read Oksanen’s fiction from the methodological viewpoint of the rhetorical theory of narrative. Accordingly, Oksanen’s six novels published to date – Stalinin lehmät, Baby Jane, Puhdistus, Kun kyyhkyset katosivat, Norma, and Koirapuisto – are considered as examples of authorial rhetoric and ethics, as narrative and textual constructions, and as affective readerly experiences. Instead of only following the rhetorical theory’s emphasis on character, plot, and progression, however, the study develops a new kind of narrative rhetoric, which also pays attention to language and politics. In the study, Sofi Oksanen emerges as a feminist narrative artist, who employs fiction as a serious rhetorical resource in order to say something worthwhile about the past history as well as the contemporary world.Book Details
Remembered and Imagined Soviet Union
The volume Remembered and Imagined Soviet Union addresses memories, conceptions, and images relating to the Soviet past from the perspective of cultural memory. The book explores how the Soviet Union has been recalled and how it has been depicted in cultural products like literature, museum exhibitions, art and the media. Instead of trying to say what the Soviet Union was, the book analyses the ways in which Finns, Russians and Estonians have viewed the Soviet past at different times. The book answers the following questions: What is remembered about the Soviet past? How has the country been represented in various cultural texts? What is forgotten or not talked about?
The book consists of chapters by scholars of history, literature and art studies. They look at key themes of the Soviet past in the framework of cultural memory, with topics including space conquest, the superiority of the hockey team, known as the "Red machine", political propaganda, and persecution of minorities.Book Details
Finnish Outsiders. The Narration of Existential Feelings in Prose Fiction of the 1950s
This study explores the narration of existential feelings, or feelings of being in the world, in post-war Finnish prose fiction. The book presents five case studies which address modern individuals’ struggles in boundary situations of their lives. Rigorous readings of the works of Kerttu-Kaarina Suosalmi, Lassi Nummi, Marko Tapio, Tyyne Saastamoinen and Eeva-Liisa Manner all show the influence of French existentialism and its predecessors on post-war Finnish modernism for the first time in literary studies. The outsider figures and their experiences of the absurd, which have enticed the cultural imagination since ancient cults and the Book of Job, connect to the atmosphere of shared melancholy in post-war Finnish culture and society.
The study participates in the rich contemporary debates on the effects of literature by focusing on less-discussed aspects of bodily feeling, affect, emotion and mood in late Finnish modernism. The book’s methodological contribution to narrative theory is that it combines a phenomenological analysis of reading with a rhetorical theory of narrative and politically informed, multidisciplinary emotion studies. The five case studies show how modernist outsider prose fiction in Finland resorts to irony, metafiction, allegory and the imaginative to generate ethically challenging narrative tension and an ambivalence of negative and positive emotion in readers. The opposing impulses of the aesthetic response produce an openness of interpretation. This openness provides us with the possibility of a more complex cultural understanding of emotion and ethics in the lives of strangers within literature and outside it.Book Details
Indomitable. Matti Kurikka's dreams and failures on three continents
Matti Kurikka (1863–1915) is a multi-dimensional and controversial character in Finnish history. He was a playwright, a journalist, a socialist, and a theosophist, as well as a speaker for sexual emancipation and women's rights. Kurikka was born in Ingria, and his activities spanned not only Finland, but also Australia and North America, in both of which he led utopian communities. This biographical study explores Kurikka as a literary and political figure and a builder of utopias, whose life opens fascinating views on the societal and cultural currents of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book critically re-evaluates earlier research on Kurikka and highlights forgotten phases of his life by using new source materials found in three continents. The sources include digitized newspapers and periodicals, Kurikka's plays and non-fictional books, oral history, and political cartoons.Book Details
Linguistic encounters in the history of Turku. Perspectives on multilingualism
The present volume is a multidisciplinary collection of research articles exploring language use, language contact and multilingualism in the history of Turku, the first town in Finland, founded around the turn of the fourteenth century. Consisting of an introduction by the editors and nine case studies in the fields of linguistics, history, archeology, and literary and cultural studies, the volume participates in a wider discussion on multilingual communities while offering a closer look into linguistic encounters in Turku and its immediate vicinity. The volume covers the period from the Middle Ages (c. 1100–1500) to the latter half of the twentieth century. The case studies illustrate the wide array of languages, linguistic varieties and registers that the inhabitants and travellers used in their daily lives, the specific contexts in which certain languages were used, and the effects of these linguistic encounters at personal, social or institutional levels.Book Details
Language and interaction in human-animal communities
This collection of articles sheds light on the role of human language in interspecies interaction. The book shows that language is not necessarily what separates us from other creatures. It can also be seen as yet another dimension of human existence that is deeply rooted in our shared history and everyday life with other living beings. This volume contains six individual research articles, two short reviews, an opening introduction to the themes of the book, and an extensive, theoretical closing chapter. The studies draw on methodologies and theoretical approaches including conversation analysis and a cognitive, usage-based approach to grammatical constructions. The book further explores the interfaces of linguistics, biosemiotics, and posthumanism. The studies show how linguistic and interactional approaches can contribute to our understanding of how human and non-human animals communicate with each other during embodied activities, how human language users make sense of interspecies encounters in speaking to or about animals, and how human language is thereby impregnated by the presence of other species. The individual research articles study, e.g., interaction with co-present animals, dialectal cow calls, parliamentary speeches, narratives of nature observation, and historical laws.Book Details