Search results for "minna canth"

Updated, alive

8 May 2014 | Non-fiction, Reviews

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Minna at 50. The Finnish flag is flown on her birthday: 19 March has been named the Day of Equality. Canth also flies on the tail of one of the aircrafts of the Nordic airline Norwegian: the fleet carries portraits of ‘heroes’ and ‘heroines’ of four Nordic countries (the other Finn is the 19th-century poet J.L. Runeberg). Original photo: Viktor Barsokevich / Kuopio Museum of Cultural History

Herkkä, hellä, hehkuvainen – Minna Canth
[Sensitive, gentle, radiant – Minna Canth]
Helsinki: Otava, 2014. 429 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-23656-6
€40.20, hardback

There are two sure methods of preserving the freshness of the works of a classical author in a reading culture that is increasingly losing its vigour.

The first is to give a high profile to new interpretations of them, either in the form of scholarly lectures or of artistic re-workings, such as dramatisations, librettos or film scripts. Another unbeatable way to keep them alive as a subject of discussion is an updated biography, through which the author is seen with new eyes.

Minna Canth (1844–1897) is now celebrating her 170th anniversary, and she is fortunate in both respects. Having begun her literary career in the late nineteenth century, she still continues to be Finland’s most significant female writer.

Her influence on the role of women in society and, in particular, her promotion of girls’ education, is the cornerstone of Finland’s social equality. In the twenty-first century Canth’s plays are still receiving new interpretations, and they have also been made into operas and musicals. (Read her short story, ‘The nursemaid’, here.) More…

Shortlist for Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2014

13 November 2014 | In the news

logoThe shortlist for the Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2014 – worth €30,000 – was announced on 5 November by the chairperson of the jury, Susanna Pettersson, Director of the Ateneum Art Museum. The works on the list of six are as follows:

Pohjolan leijona, Kustaa II Adolf ja Suomi 1611–1632 (‘The lion of the North. Gustavus II Adolphus and Finland 1611–1632’, Siltala) by the historian and author Mirkka Lappalainen deals with the implications of  actions of the mighty Swedish king on the part of the kingdom that was known as Finland.

Herkkä, hellä, hehkuvainen – Minna Canth (‘Sensitive, gentle, radiant – Minna Canth’, Otava) is a fresh biography of the Finnish pre-feminist author (1844–1897), a popularised version of a dissertation by Minna Maijala.

Karanteeni. Kuinka aids saapui Suomeen (‘Quarantine. How Aids came to Finland’, Siltala) by Hanna Nikkanen & Antti Järvi records the history of the disease, its arrival and consequences in Finland.

Operaatio Elop (‘Operation Elop’, Teos) by Pekka Nykänen & Merina Salminen is the story of the mobile phone company Nokia in its declining years and its Canadian CEO (2010–2013) Stephen Elop, who did not become the saviour of the company on the global market.

Usko, toivo ja raskaus. Vanhoillislestadiolaista perhe-elämää (‘Faith, hope and pregnancy’, Atena) by Aila Ruoho &Vuokko Ilola focuses on the family life, particularly the status of the woman, of a fundamentalist religious community in Finland.

Tulisaarna. Einojuhani Rautavaaran elämä ja teokset (‘Fiery sermon. Life and works of Einojuhani Rautavaara’, Teos) by Samuli Tiikkaja (journalist, music critic and researcher) is a biography of the composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (born 1928).

The winner – according to the rules of the prize, it will be given to a deserving Finnish generalist non-fiction book – will be chosen by Heikki Hellman, journalist and Dean ofthe School of Communication, Media and Theatre in Tampere, on 19 November.

The nursemaid

8 May 2014 | Fiction, Prose

Lapsenpiika (‘The nursemaid’), a short story, first published in the newspaper Keski-Suomi in December, 1887. Minna Canth and a new biography introduced by Mervi Kantokorpi

‘Emmi, hey, get up, don’t you hear the bell, the lady wants you! Emmi! Bless the girl, will nothing wake her? Emmi, Emmi!’

At last, Silja got her to show some signs of life. Emmi sat up, mumbled something, and rubbed her eyes. She still felt dreadfully sleepy.

‘What time is it?’

‘Getting on for five.’

Five? She had had three hours in bed. It had been half-past one before she finished the washing-up: there had been visitors that evening, as usual, and for two nights before that she had had to stay up because of the child; the lady had gone off to a wedding, and baby Lilli had refused to content herself with her sugar-dummy. Was it any wonder that Emmi wanted to sleep? More…

In memoriam Austin Flint (1931–2015)

2 April 2015 | In the news

Austin Flint

Austin Flint

The playwright, teacher and translator Austin Flint died in New York on 1 February.

Austin was Adjunct Professor in the Department of Arts at Columbia University, New York, and taught playwriting there for almost half a century. Among the translations from Finnish into English he made – together with his wife Aili Flint – are the novel The Parson’s Widow (Hänen olivat linnut) by Marja-Liisa Vartio and the play Anna-Liisa by Minna Canth.

Austin’s plays include: The Flaming Spider: Jonathan Edwards in Northhampton, Prison Light, Marching to Jubilee: William Lloyd Garrison’s Campaign for the Abolition of Slavery and Compartments. His work has been performed in New York and at Yale University.

Austin Flint was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Books from Finland from 1985 to 1995. With Aili – whom he met in 1958 in Helsinki, where he was teaching – he translated many articles and extracts for the journal.

The Flints acted as hosts in 1986 when the Editorial Board of Books from Finland visited New York to discuss the development of the journal with them and a few selected literary figures. The Editorial Board found Austin’s expertise and interest in making Finnish literature better known in the United States most useful and encouraging. We remember Austin as a warm-hearted collaborator whose gentle humour greatly enlivened the editorial process.

In defence of small people

15 November 2012 | Non-fiction, Reviews

Teuvo Pakkala with grandson Teuvo-Pentti and Mirri the cat. Photo: F. Suomela / Otava, 1922

The best-known work of author Teuvo Pakkala (1862–1925) is Tukkijoella (‘On the log river’, 1899), Finland’s most-performed play. The song-studded comedy set in motion a phase of ‘logger romanticism’ in Finnish literature which later spread to film as well. Like the cowboy of the old west, the wandering lumberjack became the prototype for the Finnish masculine adventurer.

The entertaining musical play was a blockbuster. Pakkala’s works of more literary significance, however, encountered more difficulty. His short story collections on the lives of children – Lapsia (‘Children’, 1895) and Pikku ihmisiä (‘Little people’, 1913) – were greeted with flattering acclaim, but marked the author as hopelessly ‘effeminate’, as the critics put it. The stories were read as a kind of child-rearing guide, or even as tales for children. It wasn’t until much later, in the second half of the 20th century, that these psychological studies of children were re-examined as early gems of the short story form by a contemporary of Freud. More…

Jouko Turkka’s factory of ideas

30 September 1986 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Jouko Turkka (born 1942) is a man of theatre by profession, not a writer. But according to him, all theatre people want to write: dramatic art is very transient, somehow one would like to immortalise one’s thoughts. ‘I want to destroy this virus’, he says in his book Aiheita (‘Themes’, 1983). ‘I don’t want future generations to waste their lives on this. – I have set down these “themes” of mine, in as simple a form as possible, just to show that I too have had a go at it. – Now I have got them off my chest, I need never write anything again.’

The following year Turkka published a novel, Kantelu oikeuskanslerille (‘A case for the Chancellor of Justice’), this year his play Hypnoosi (‘Hypnosis’) was performed at the Helsinki City Theatre; and this year, too, his play Lihaa ja rakkautta (‘Meat and love’) was performed in Gothenburg, Sweden. Turkka – theatre director, producer, former rector of the Theatre Academy (1983-85), where he is currently professor of theatre directing – evidently could not shake off the writing bug as easily as he had thought. More…

Daring to dream

30 June 2004 | Fiction, poetry

Poems from Vaaksan päässä taivaasta (‘A span away from heaven’, Teos, 2004)

In the evenings they lit a candle on the cat’s grave
In the daytime they made a cosmological model
with a skipping rope
feet tapped the rhythm and its shadow
the rope slapped against the street
once in a while a rock flew
against a concrete wall
plunged from the oval galaxy’s edge
to the edge of space. More…

Money, Morals and Love

31 March 1980 | Archives online, Authors

Maria Jotuni

Maria Jotuni. Photo: Atelier Nyblin / CC-BY-4.0

Maria Jotuni‘s reputation as a writer rests on her daring and highly individual portrayals of women and on her gifts as a dramatist. Her works concentrate on analyses of the human condition, the contradictions, the frustrations, the fantasies. As the creative ‘observer’ she is both deeply sympathetic and ruthlessly revealing.

Maria Jotuni, whose centenary is celebrated this year, grew up in the eastern Finnish province of Savo and her early work draws richly on that background for subject matter and local colour. Her style, which over the years was honed and polished into a unique form of expression, certainly owes something to the lilting rhythms of the Savo dialect – and something to the lyricism of the Finnish Bible, with which she was familiar from her earliest years. Maria Haggrén, as she was born, was the second of six children; they lived in Kuopio, the home town of J. V. Snellman (1806–81), a man who did much to formulate the Finnish national identity, and of Minna Canth (1844–97), one of Finland’s major woman writers. The Haggréns were not wealthy, but they believed strongly in the pursuit of learning and knowledge. The home also provided a fruitful contact with rural life with opportunities to listen to the chatter and tales of the farm boys and servant girls. More…

A writer and his conscience

31 March 1993 | Archives online, Authors

In the autumn of 1891 the brilliant young law graduate Arvid Järnefelt, 30, was just embarking on his pupillage in the lower courts of justice when he suddenly changed his mind. He broke off his promising career in the middle of a legal term, explaining that he could not sit in judgment over anyone. Behind his decision was his encounter with the work of Leo Tolstoy. After reading Tolstoy’s What is my faith? and The Spirit of Christianity, Järnefelt was stopped short by a sentence from the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Judge not, that ye may not be judged.’ He wished to obey the command to the letter, and changed the direction of his life, immediately and radically. First he learned the skills of smith and shoe-maker in order to earn himself a living by the work of his own hands; later he bought a small piece of land, and became a farmer. More…