Matti Klinge: Suomalainen ja eurooppalainen menneisyys [The Finnish and European past]

8 April 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Suomalainen ja eurooppalainen menneisyys. Historiankirjoitus ja historiankulttuuri keisariaikana
[The Finnish and European past. Historiography and history culture in the Imperial era]
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2010. 360 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-208-4
€ 34, hardback

The term ‘Imperial era’ in Finnish history refers to Finland’s period as a Grand Duchy of Russia, 1809–1917. This work is a study of the shaping of Finland’s national culture of history. ‘History culture’ refers to the ways in which ideas about the past are generated, utilised and modified. The brief essays in this book look at the way the past, the events and people involved in historiography are treated in academic research – including those who did not hold high-level academic posts and were therefore absent from previous works. Matti Klinge, an emeritus professor of history, maintains that Finnish historiography has been characterised by an emphasis on nationalism and national development and has focused chiefly on historical writing about Finland. Historians have often been viewed as following in their predecessors’ footsteps, without demonstrating influences acquired from contemporary foreign research. The author emphasises the multilingual intellectual world of the Imperial era; at that time in Finland, people were able to read more foreign languages than nowadays.
Translated by Ruth Urbom

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