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4.7 Finnish literature: Modern writers in Swedish




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This article is from the Nordic countries FAQ, by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson, with numerous contributions by others.

4.7 Finnish literature: Modern writers in Swedish

Finland-Swedish modernism was introduced by Edith Södergran
(1892-1923). She didn't receive much recognition in her
lifetime, but is now regarded one of Finland's foremost poets.
She was first influenced by French symbolism, then German
expressionism and Russian futurism, and creatively applied
these to her own poetry. Her free rhythm, strong, challenging
images fired by a Nietzschean self-conscience and conviction of
the importance of her message were new and baffling to the
Finnish audience, and she was almost without exception
misunderstood and even ridiculed. Her first collection of poems
was Dikter (Poems, 1916), which was followed by Rosenaltaret
(The Rose Altar, 1919) and Landet som icke är (The land that is
not, 1925) among others. Always physically weak and somewhat
sickly, she died young just as she was starting to get
followers. Among these the most important were Elmer Diktonius
(1896-1961), Gunnar Björling (1887-1960) and Rabbe Enckell
(1903-74).
In recent years writers such as Märta & Henrik Tikkanen, Kjell
Westö (b. 1961) and others have proved that the size of a
linguistic minority has very little to do with the quality of
its literature.
The author Tove Jansson (b. 1914) has won much international
fame for her creation of the Moomins, philosophical-minded,
friendly trolls who live in Moominvalley. There are many books
on their adventures, e. g. Muminpappan och Havet (Moominpappa
and the Sea). Her fantasy world charms with its richness,
inventiveness and wisdom of life spiced with witty humor. The
events and imagery flow freely and uninhibited, yet reflecting
the phenomena of the real world.

 

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