Search results for "ulla-lena lundberg"

Kalevalan kulttuurihistoria [A cultural history of the Kalevala]

16 March 2009 | Mini reviews

KalevalaKalevalan kulttuurihistoria
[A cultural history of the Kalevala]
Toim. [Ed. by] Piela, Ulla & Knuuttila, Seppo & Laaksonen, Pekka
Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2008. 578 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-007-3
€ 63, hardback

The social and cultural influences exerted by Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala (the versions compiled by Elias Lönnrot were published in 1835, 1849 and 1862), are considerable: a large number of Finnish institutions still use it in their operations and public image. This book, which had its origin in an initiative by the Kalevala Society, takes the reader through Lönnrot’s work as a collector of folk poetry and literary compiler. The authors also discuss the epic’s ideology and its impact on Finnish cultural history. The book has five parts which relate the Kalevala to the arts, with particular reference to the visual arts and music, nationhood, politics, the study of folk poetry, and the parallelism of repetition. There are subjects included which have not previously featured in academic research, such as interpretations of the Kalevala in popular culture.

All beauty

17 November 2011 | Authors, Reviews

Bo Carpelan. Photo: Ulla Montan

The epigraph to Bo Carpelan’s prose work, Blad ur höstens arkiv. Tomas Skarfelts anteckningar (‘Leaves from autumn’s archive. The notes of Tomas Skarfelt’) is a quotation from Goethe: Zum Erstaunen bin ich da (‘To marvel I am here’). The world is a wonder to behold, one’s curiosity ought to be satisfied with less. It could stand as a motto for the whole of Carpelan’s literary work.

That work is now complete. Bo Carpelan died in February this year at the age of 84. He had made his debut in 1946 with the poetry collection Som en dunkel värme (‘Like an obscure warmth’).

In his prose as in his poetry, Carpelan built on a process of heightened and unconditional perception. Where others see only trees or forest, he saw a complex, branching light. His poetic ‘I’ could even watch itself perceiving, as when one autumn evening Tomas Skarfelt writes of a long-eared owl: ‘The yellow eyes looked at me attentively for a moment: a rather large, feather-clad camera.’ Carpelan often complained of having a poor memory, but it was a photographic one. More…

The nearness of the past

30 March 2005 | Authors, Reviews

Kjell Westö.  Photo Ulla Montan

Kjell Westö. Photo Ulla Montan

Kjell Westö (born 1961) has to a large extent converted the needs and dilemmas of his own generation into material for his own writing.

It was a generation that came too late for the wave of politicisation of the 1970s, but it was strongly influenced by the reaction against it: individualism and postmodernism, the delirium of the ‘casino-economics’ of the 1980s and the crash that followed. True, Westö stood back from many of the currents of the time, but was clearly influenced by them nonetheless. More…

C.L. Engel. Koti Helsingissä, sydän Berliinissä. C.L. Engel. Hemmet i Helsingfors, hjärtat i Berlin [C.L. Engel. Home in Helsinki, heart in Berlin]

23 February 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

C.L. Engel. Koti Helsingissä, sydän Berliinissä. C.L. Engel. Hemmet i Helsingfors, hjärtat i Berlin
[C.L. Engel. Home in Helsinki, heart in Berlin]
Tekstit [Texts by]: Matti Klinge, Salla Elo, Eeva Ruoff
Valokuvat [Photography]: Taavetti Alin & Risto Törrö
Översättning [Translations from Finnish into Swedish]: Ulla Pedersen Estberg
Helsingfors: Schildts, 2012. 140 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-50-2183-0
€ 31.50, hardback

The life and works of the German architect Carl Ludvig Engel (1778–1840) are portrayed in four articles by specialists in Finnish history, the history of Helsinki and the history of gardens. Engel spent almost 24 years in Helsinki, transforming it with his architectural designs. For eleven of those years, he and his family lived in a house surrounded by a large garden, both of them his own creations. Looking for work, the young Engel finally found it in the tiny northern town that was pronounced the new capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812 – both Tsar Alexander I and his successor, Nikolai I, favoured him. From 1816 onwards he designed more than twenty neo-classical buildings, among them nationally important landmarks: the Cathedral, the City Hall, the National Library and the University. Despite his mostly rewarding job as a highly regarded city planner, Engel found Helsinki cold, small and quiet, and he constantly longed for his native Berlin, which he never saw again. However, his flourishing garden gave him great pleasure. Richly illustrated with photographs, the book gives the reader an thorough and interesting picture of this city-changing man and his era.

On Bo Carpelan

30 September 1977 | Archives online, Authors

Bo Carpelan. Photo: Ulla Montan

For a small country Finland is richly endowed with poets. Of particular interest, in view of the smallness of the Finland-Swedish population (about 7% of the total), is the number of poets who speak and write Swedish as their first language and consistently produce work of outstanding quality. International recognition of the work of one of these poets came earlier this year with the award of the Nordic Council Literary Prize to Bo Carpelan.

Carpelan’s first volume of verse, Som en dunkel värme (‘Like a dark warmth’) appeared in 1946. Since then he has brought out a further ten volumes of poetry and six prose works (all published by Schildt, Helsinki). It would be difficult, and probably premature, to attempt any detailed analysis of the fusion of influences and inspiration that have come together in Carpelan’s poetry. It is clear, however, that his early work has points of contact with the Finland-Swedish modernism of the 1920s and that he followed with particular interest the 40-talists, a group of Swedish poets active in the 1940s: the influence of their heavy, profuse imagery can be discerned in his early collections.

Critics identify two main periods in Carpelan’s poetry. The first of these is represented by his first volume and by Du mörka överlevande (‘You dark survivor’, 1947), Variationer (‘Variations’, 1950), Minus sju (‘Minus seven’, 1952) and Objekt för ord (‘Objects for words’, 1956). The second period begins with the collection Landskapets förvandlingar (‘The changing landscape’, 1957) and was followed by Den svala dagen (‘The cool day’, 1961), 73 dikter (’73 poems’, 1966), Gården (The courtyard’, 1969), Källan (‘The spring’, 1973) and most recently by I de mörka rummen, i de ljusa (‘In the dark rooms, in the bright ones’, 1976). In all his poetry Carpelan sees life as a mystery, but his approach to this mystery changes and develops. In his earlier works his language is deft, yet at the same time private and intimate, later it becomes sharp and simple. More…

New worlds

30 September 1998 | Authors, Interviews

Monika Fagerhom

Photo: Ulla Montan

The heroine of Monika Fagerholm’s novel Diva is a teenage girl. But this is a Lolita with a difference; for this is an intelligent Lolita, with a voice of her own. Silja Hiidenheimo interviews her creator

In Monika Fagerholm’s best-selling book Underbara kvinnor vid vatten (1994, English translation:Wonderful Women by the Water), the sun shines and the women really are wonderful. If there is a certain melancholy about the story, it is born more of longing and the unrealised dream of freedom. And although all those of us who were born in the 1960s thought Monika had stolen precisely our childhood memories of summer, that she had leafed through our photograph albums, the work is, in the melancholy lightness of its narrative, an exception in Finnish realism. While the book forces its readers to empathise so completely that one cannot imagine Monika has invented anything in the whole story, but merely, like a camera, has registered everything just as it happened, an ironic laugh is heard in the book: realism is just as banal as life itself. If one were to summarise the plot of either, one would not be able to repeat it without blushing. More…

In the beginning was… DNA?

8 October 2010 | Reviews

Adam and Eve, or the elephants: Osmo Rauhala’s sketch of The Fall of Man. As the bull eats the apple, evil rises from the ground in the form of a plant with eyes: a ‘misbreed’, a cross of two species alien to each other

Kuutti Lavonen – Osmo Rauhala – Pirjo Silveri
Tyrvään Pyhän Olavin kirkko – sata ja yksi kuvaa /
St Olaf’s Church in Tyrvää – One Hundred and One Paintings

Toim. / Edited by Pirjo Silveri
Translations: Silja Kudel, Jüri Kokkonen
Helsinki: Kirjapaja, 2010. 143 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-247-103-1
€44.30, hardback

The old shingle roof of the early 16th-century stone church of St Olaf in Tyrvää, in the province of Pirkanmaa, southern Finland, was repaired by village volunteers in 1997. Three weeks after they completed their work, a drunken arsonist set the church on fire. More…

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