Finland Modern Literature

By | December 17, 2021

Finnish literature is among the youngest in Europe, counting just a century of life. And it presents the phenomenon, almost unique in literary history, of a rich and original “popular” or anonymous production of epic, lyrical, magical songs, of legends and ballads and short stories, which from the beginnings through the Middle Ages reaches up to the middle of the last century (when what remained of it is collected and fixed by writing) while “artistic” literature flourishes only in a very recent age and in a few decades, for richness, variety, originality and freshness it reaches a notable place among the European sisters.

To understand the development of this, as of any other literature, we must keep historical events in mind. From about 1150 to 1809 Finland remained under Swedish domination, and Swedes by origin and language were the ruling classes; the Finnish language was limited to religious use and only from the middle of the century. XVII date some laws and decrees in Finnish. Truly the first printed work, the Abbecedario by Michele Agricola (to whom we also owe other religious books and the translation of the New Testament in 1548) dates back to 1542; but for more than two centuries Swedish remained the language of school and culture, nor did the epoch of Russian domination (1809-1917) at first bring about any notable change. The germs of interest in the language and memories of the past, the first signs of the awakening of national sentiment, posed with the foundation of the university of Åbo (1640), carried out by men (who therefore had the name of “phennophiles”) such as Eskil Petraeus (author of the first Finnish grammar, 1649), flourished and ripened into lasting fruit when Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) showed, with the Kalevala, of how many and what treasures the traditional poetry of the Finno people was rich in. It was like a trumpet blast summoning the highest intellects, the most inspired poets, the most ardent patriots. Swedish-speaking writers, primarily the great poet Johan Ludwig Runeberg (1804-1877), the historian and politician Johan Wilhelm Snellman (1806-1881), the poet and short story writer Zakarias Topelius (1818-1898) also joined the movement. which was also very effective boost from the activity of Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (Finnish Literature Society), founded in 1831. For Finland 2016, please check softwareleverage.org.

Since he is mentioned particularly in his place of the most important writers, we limit ourselves here to a quick overview. Although opposed by the severe censorship and the authoritarian regime, Finnish nationalism firmly asserted itself and proceeded towards the goal it reached with the proclamation of the independence of Finland (6 December 1917), at the end of the world war.

From 1860, the year in which Finnish was declared “official language” also for public acts, modern literature began, the first great figure of which is that of the novelist, short story writer, playwright and poet Alexis Kivi (1824-1872). The lyric is affirmed with Oksanen (pseudonym of August Ahlqvist, 1826-1889), with Kaarlo Kramsu (1855-1895), with Paavo Kajander (highly praised translator of Shakespeare) and with other minors. Meanwhile, the powerful movement of modern realism arose, which towards 1880 made its influence felt also in Finland, first through Norwegian writers (Björnson, Ibsen), then through the French (Zola, Maupassant), and the Russians (Tolstoy). Realistic dramas and short stories with socialist intentions composed by Minna Canth (1844-1897). The perfection of narrative prose is represented by Juhani Aho, with which the language rises to the greatest purity and richness of expression. Tolstoian is the storyteller and playwright Arvid Järnefelt (1861), while realists of the first style appear Kasimir Leino (1866-1919), Teuvo Pakkala (1862) and Santeri Ivalo (1866). A characteristic group of “peasant writers” (similar to German “rural” and Norwegian “dialectals”) also work in the realist environment, starting with the sacristan and farmer Pietari Päivärinta (1827-1913), up to the more refined and elaborate Kauppis Heikki (1862-1920) and to the head of the agrarian party Santeri Alkio (1862). Maila Talvio (pseudonym of M. Mikkola, 1871) and Ilmari Kianto (1874) mark the transition to a more subjective and imaginative address. Tolstoian is the storyteller and playwright Arvid Järnefelt (1861), while realists of the first style appear Kasimir Leino (1866-1919), Teuvo Pakkala (1862) and Santeri Ivalo (1866). A characteristic group of “peasant writers” (similar to German “rural” and Norwegian “dialectals”) also work in the realist environment, starting with the sacristan and farmer Pietari Päivärinta (1827-1913), up to the more refined and elaborate Kauppis Heikki (1862-1920) and to the head of the agrarian party Santeri Alkio (1862). Maila Talvio (pseudonym of M. Mikkola, 1871) and Ilmari Kianto (1874) mark the transition to a more subjective and imaginative address. Tolstoian is the storyteller and playwright Arvid Järnefelt (1861), while realists of the first style appear Kasimir Leino (1866-1919), Teuvo Pakkala (1862) and Santeri Ivalo (1866). A characteristic group of “peasant writers” (similar to German “rural” and Norwegian “dialectals”) also work in the realist environment, starting with the sacristan and farmer Pietari Päivärinta (1827-1913), up to the more refined and elaborate Kauppis Heikki (1862-1920) and to the head of the agrarian party Santeri Alkio (1862). Maila Talvio (pseudonym of M. Mikkola, 1871) and Ilmari Kianto (1874) mark the transition to a more subjective and imaginative address. realist environment also operates a characteristic group of “peasant writers” (similar to the German “rural” and the Norwegian “dialectals”), starting with the sacristan and farmer Pietari Päivärinta (1827-1913), up to the more refined and elaborate Kauppis Heikki (1862 -1920) and to the head of the agrarian party Santeri Alkio (1862). Maila Talvio (pseudonym of M. Mikkola, 1871) and Ilmari Kianto (1874) mark the transition to a more subjective and imaginative address. realist environment also operates a characteristic group of “peasant writers” (similar to the German “rural” and the Norwegian “dialectals”), starting with the sacristan and farmer Pietari Päivärinta (1827-1913), up to the more refined and elaborate Kauppis Heikki (1862 -1920) and to the head of the agrarian party Santeri Alkio (1862). Maila Talvio (pseudonym of M. Mikkola, 1871) and Ilmari Kianto (1874) mark the transition to a more subjective and imaginative address.

At the end of the century XIX, with the decline of realism and with the rise of neo-romanticism, which are informed in Sweden by Fröding and Lagerlöf, Knut Hamsun in Norway, Gorkij and Andreev among the Russians, while from Germany Nietzschean and for some time Parnassian and Symbolist ideas had spread had renewed French poetry, Finnish literature, under such multiple influences, turns “from the detailed observation of the contemporary world towards the historical past and the fields of fantasy, from accurate external analysis towards broader syntheses, from observations to feelings” (V. Tarkiainen). In this new address, Johannes Linnankoski (1869-1913), Maria Jotuni (1880), FE Sillanpää (1888), Aino Kallas (1878) stand out for the height of ingenuity and freshness of inspiration.

Also in other literary fields, such as translations and scientific works, young literature possesses an enviable number of works of great value; the book production is, with respect to the number of residents, among the most considerable in Europe and two of the largest and most deserving publishing houses, “Otava” and the firm Werner Söderström, launch hundreds of volumes on the market every year, which find, in all social classes, assiduous and willing readers. It has been calculated that from the beginning of literature up to 1925, 50,000 works in the Finnish language were published, while up to 1809 there were only 2,000.

Finland Modern Literature