Kirjoituksia sankaruudesta [Writings on heroism]

25 March 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Kirjoituksia sankaruudesta
[Writings on heroism]
Toim. [Ed. by] Ulla-Maija Peltonen & Ilona Kemppainen
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2010. 330 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-207-7
€ 29, paperback

This book examines Finnish heroism and anti-heroism by using approaches from folklore studies, history and literary theory. Political ‘heroism’ manufactured by the media is explored through a study of in-depth personal portraits of Finnish politicians published in the country’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, between 1981 and 2005. According to the research material, a positive impression is made by a narrative about a politician who is an independent thinker even in the context of his own party, from an ordinary home, engaged in manual work in his youth and risen to success overcoming setbacks through his own merits and without intrigue. The story of the European Union’s Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Olli Rehn, is a heroic story about a politician who dares believe in a European Finland even when it was disadvantageous to his career. Since the 1990s, writers have begun to take a renewed interest in war heroism; the climate in the 1960s and 1970s was pacifist, but now the ‘Winter War spirit’, which is deemed heroic, has been surfacing in an ever-increasing variety of situations, including economic crises.
Translated by Ruth Urbom

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