Kai Häggman: Pieni kansa, pitkä muisti. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura talvisodasta 2000-luvulle. [Small nation, long memory. The Finnish Literature Society from the Winter War to the 21st century.]

16 June 2015 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Pieni kansa, pitkä muistiKai Häggman
Pieni kansa, pitkä muisti. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura talvisodasta 2000-luvulle. [Small nation, long memory. The Finnish Literature Society from the Winter War to the 21st century.]
Helsinki: SKS, 2015. 524pp., ill.
€48, hardback

The Finnish Literature Society, publisher of Books from Finland, is of unique importance as a collector of Finnish folk poetry and folk tradition, a publisher of literature and a promoter of research into the Finnish language and history; today it is known particularly as one of the most important publishers of the humanities. The historian Kai Häggman has published many works about publishing, and his new book, the third volume of a history of the Finnish Literature Society, describes events from the Second World War to the present day. Among other things, the book describes the Finnish Literature Society’s activities in conquered Eastern Karelia in what was then considered part of the Greater Finland, and its ideological development from narrow nationalism to the broader outlook of the post-war decades. In the late 20th century the generation that had lived through the war was replaced by younger people, and the study of the folk tradition embraced aspects of modern society; methods, too, were renewed. The book also casts light on relationships between Finnish scholars and those from kindred nations such as Estonia. Häggman gives a lively all-round view of the work of the Society as part of Finnish cultural history as a whole, emphasising the importance of the most important scholars, and not forgetting the occasional infighting.

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