Archive for June, 2011

Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa [Literary culture in medieval Finland]

1 June 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa
[Literary culture in medieval Finland]
Toim. [Ed. by] Tuomas Heikkilä
Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2010. 480 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-212-223-7
€ 36, hardback

The literary material from Finland’s medieval period is both more extensive and more interesting than previously thought. A team of scholars has gone through almost all of the material that survives, from the eleventh to the sixteenth century: missals, merchants’ correspondence, vernacular writings and state papers. Literary culture arrived in Finland with Christianity. During the Middle Ages the language of theologians and scholars on Finnish territory was Latin, the principal language of trade was Low German, and affairs of state were conducted in Swedish. This book examines how, when and where the texts were written and what their distribution says about Finnish literary tastes of earliest times. The scholars have done detective work, tracing and connecting parchment missals which ended up as the bindings of bailiffs’ ledgers. The book takes as its main source the National Library’s Fragmenta Membranea, one of the world’s largest collections of medieval parchment fragments. It is planned to digitise the collection and make the fragments freely accessible to both scholars and the general public.
Translated by David McDuff


Heikki Hiilamo: Uusi hyvinvointivaltio [The new welfare state]

1 June 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Uusi hyvinvointivaltio
[The new welfare state]
Helsinki: Like Publishing, 2011. 131 p.
ISBN 978-952-01-0615-7
€ 17, paperback

There is concern in Finland about the decline of the Nordic welfare state and the return of a class society. Problems exist with regard to issues such as the country’s aging population, changes in the structure of the labour market, the increase in income disparity, and lifestyle issues. The impoverishment caused by the recession of the 1990s did not decrease in the early 2000s, as could be seen in things like the rise of bread lines, much debated by Finns. The author – an expert on the welfare state and a poverty researcher – examines the values of the good society and its institutions. He discusses welfare as the politics of social possibilities: ‘The current system does not sufficiently allow the individual to come up with his own initiatives for positive change – instead, it fetters those initiatives.’ Hiilamo’s campaining book reflects on how the welfare state could be developed twenty years after the recession crisis, and how the middle class might be brought to realise that the growth in income disparity also affects their own welfare.
Translated by David McDuff


Jarkko Laine Prize 2011

1 June 2011 | In the news

Juha Kulmala. Photo: Lotta Djupsund

The Jarkko Laine Literary Prize (see our news from 6 May), worth €10,000, was awarded to Juha Kulmala (born 1962) on 19 May for his collection of poems entitled Emme ole dodo (‘We are not dodo’, Savukeidas, 2009).

The prize is awarded to a ‘challenging new literary work’ published during the previous two years. Shortlisted were also two novels, Kristina Carlson’s  Herra Darwinin puutarhuri (‘Mr Darwin’s gardener’, Otava, 2009) and Erik Wahlström’s Flugtämjaren (‘Fly tamer’, Finnish translation Kärpäsenkesyttäjä, Schildts, 2010).

Jarkko Laine (1947–2006) was a poet, writer, playwright, translator, long-time editor of the literary journal Parnasso and chair of the Finnish Writers’s Union.