Matti Suurpää: Parnasso 1951–2011 [Parnasso, 1951–2011]

21 April 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Parnasso 1951–2011. Kirjallisuuslehden kuusi vuosikymmentä.
[Parnasso, 1951–2011. Six decades of a literary journal]
Helsinki: Otava, 2011. 559 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-23368-8
€ 45.90, hardback

The 60-year history of Parnasso, Finland’s longest-running literary journal, is a chronicle of the assimilation of ‘the modern’ into Finnish literature. Matti Suurpää – a long-time contributor, and former head of the SKS publishing house – singles out the 1958–1965 period under the editorship of Kai Laitinen (professor of literature, Editor-in-Chief of Books from Finland from 1976 to 1990) as the era with the broadest editorial scope. Finnish modernist literature, developed during the 1950s, had by then staked out its territory, and the journal consolidated its power to promote it. Laitinen published an excellent themed issue on Finland-Swedish literature to rehabilitate and reintegrate writing by Swedish-speaking authors into the field of Finnish literature. Subsequent editors considered it important to include translations of foreign literature in Parnasso. As the archives of the journal have been lost, Suurpää carried out a close reading of the annual volumes. The result is an eminently clear and readable work in which a wealth of extracts of writing and discussions illuminate the story of the modernisation of Finnish literature.
Translated by Ruth Urbom

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