Sirpa Kivilaakso: Satukuningatar Anni Swan [Anni Swan, the queen of storytelling]

7 May 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Satukuningatar Anni Swan. Elämä ja teokset
[Anni Swan, the queen of storytelling. Her life and works]
Jyväskylä: Atena, 2009. 275 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-796-561-3
€ 32, hardback

Anni Swan (1875–1958) was a writer, translator and editor of children’s magazines. Her symbolic tales utilise her highly original language of sensory imagery. Swan’s symbolism is rooted in the golden age of Finnish arts at the end of the 19th century. The pre-eminent setting for Swan’s stories is the Finnish forest. Her ‘eco-criticism’ of practices that exploited the natural environment can be seen as radical for her time. Swan is also considered to be the first true writer of books for young people in Finland. Her stories about upper-class characters who overcome obstacles emphasise the class conflicts and other injustices of their day, yet they have remained popular into the 21st century. This book, based on Sirpa Kivilaakso’s doctoral thesis on Swan’s fairy-tale symbolism, presents a biography of the author, with supporting extracts from her books, diary entries and letters.

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