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



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