Johannes Linnankoski, pseudonym of Vihtori Peltonen, (born Oct. 18, 1869, Askola, Russian Finland--died Aug. 10, 1913, Helsinki), novelist, orator, and champion of Finnish independence from Russia; his works were instrumental in forming Finnish national consciousness in the early 20th century.Linnankoski was of peasant origin and largely self-taught. His finest novel, Pakolaiset (1908; "The Fugitives"), is about peasant life. More popular in his day was Laulu tulipunaisesta kukasta (1905; The Song of the Blood-Red Flower, 1920), a lyrical fantasy relating the amorous adventures..
Zacharias Topelius, (born Jan. 14, 1818, Kuddnas, Russian Finland--died March 12, 1898, Helsinki), the father of the Finnish historical novel. His works, written in Swedish, are classics of Finland's national literature.Topelius joined the faculty of the University of Helsinki as professor of Finnish history in 1864; he served as university president, 1875-78. Though he published five collections of lyrics, he is best known for Faltskarns berattelser (1853-67; The King's Ring and the Surgeon's Stories, 1872), a romanticized account of Swedish-Finnish history during the 17th and 18th..
Minna Canth, in full Ulrika Vilhelmina Canth, nee Johnsson, (born March 19, 1844, Tampere, Russian Finland--died May 12, 1897, Kuopio), novelist and dramatist, a late 19th-century leader of the revival of the Finnish vernacular and Realist movement.In 1863 she entered the seminary at Jyvaskyla, where she married her teacher, J.F. Canth, in 1865. Widowed in 1879, with seven children, she went into business at Kuopio but still found time to produce literary works that had a powerful impact on her contemporaries. In her early short stories, Novelleja ja Kertomuksia (1878), she was somewhat..
Eino Leino, pseudonym of Armas Eino Leopold Lonnbohm, (born July 6, 1878, Paltamo, Russian Finland--died Jan. 10, 1926, Tuusula, Fin.), prolific and versatile poet, a master of Finnish poetic forms, the scope of whose talent ranges from the visionary and mystical to topical novels, pamphlets, and critical journalism.Leino studied at the University of Helsinki and worked as a journalist, principally as literary and dramatic critic on the liberal newspapers Paivalehti and Helsingin Sanomat. The last part of his life he spent in bohemian excess. He translated into Finnish a number of world..
Frans Eemil Sillanpaa, (born Sept. 16, 1888, Hameenkyro, Finland, Russian Empire--died June 3, 1964, Helsinki, Fin.), first Finnish writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1939).The son of a peasant farmer, Sillanpaa began studying natural science but in 1913 returned to the country, married, and began to write. His first short stories were published in journals in 1915. From 1924 to 1927 he worked for a publishing company in Porvoo. A new creative period followed in the early 1930s, when he wrote several of his best works.Sillanpaa's first novel, Elama ja aurinko (1916; "Life and the..
Joel Lehtonen, (born November 27, 1881, Saaminki, Finland--died 1934, Helsinki), Finnish novelist in the naturalistic tradition of Emile Zola and Maxim Gorky.The first stage of Lehtonen's career was characterized by the Neoromanticism of the turn of the century, and his first novel, Paholaisen viula (1904; "The Fiddle of the Devil"), is highly indebted to Selma Lagerlof's Gosta Berlings saga (1891). In Rakastunut rampa (1922; "The Amorous Cripple"), however, Lehtonen bitterly rejects the tributes to individualism and genius worship that marked his youthful phase. The main character..
Aleksis Kivi, pseudonym of Aleksis Stenvall, (born Oct. 10, 1834, Nurmijarvi, Russian Finland [now in Finland]--died Dec. 31, 1872, Tuusula), father of the Finnish novel and drama and the creator of Finland's modern literary language.Though Kivi grew up in rural poverty, he entered the University of Helsinki in 1857. In 1860 he won the Finnish Literary Society's drama competition with his tragedy Kullervo, based on a theme taken from the Finnish national epic Kalevala. His most famous plays are the rural comedies Nummisuutarit (1864; "Shoemakers of the Heath"), the story of the unsuccessful..
Veijo Meri, (born December 31, 1928, Viborg, Finland--died June 21, 2015, Helsinki), Finnish novelist, poet, and dramatist of the generation of the 1960s.Meri devoted many of his novels and dramas to the depiction of war. Unlike his many Finnish predecessors, however, he did not treat war in the heroic mode. His soldiers existed in an incoherent and farcical world. In Manillakoysi (1957; The Manila Rope), the main character deserts, taking with him a rope for which he is willing to risk his life, though he has no use for the rope. His journey home is interspersed with absurd stories from the war...
Juhani Aho, pseudonym of Johannes Brofeldt, (born Sept. 11, 1861, Lapinlahti, Finland, Russian Empire--died Aug. 8, 1921, Helsinki, Finland), novelist and short-story writer who began as a realist but toward the end of his life made large concessions to Romanticism.A country clergyman's son, Aho studied at Helsinki University, worked as a journalist, and was an active member of the liberal group Nuori Suomi ("Young Finland").Aho's early realistic stories and novels humorously describe life in the Finnish backwoods he knew so well. His novel Rautatie (1884; "The Railway"), the story of..
Paavo Haavikko, (born Jan. 25, 1931, Helsinki, Fin.--died Oct. 6, 2008, Helsinki), Finnish humanist poet, novelist, and dramatist whose work is modernistic, experimental, and linguistically innovative.With his first collection of poems, Tiet etaisyyksiin (1951; "The Roads That Lead Far Away"), Haavikko demonstrated a rare command of rhythm and image in his virtuoso handling of the language. In his next collection, Tuulioina (1953; "In Windy Nights"), he used the wind as the central metaphor for contemporary anxiety and alienation, and in Synnyinmaa (1955; "Fatherland") and Lehdet..
Eeva Liisa Manner, (born Dec. 5, 1921, Helsinki, Fin.--died July 7, 1995, Tampere), lyrical poet and dramatist, a central figure in the Finnish modernist movement of the 1950s.Manner's first publications as a lyrical poet appeared in the 1940s with Mustaa ja punaista (1944; "Black and Red") and Kuin tuuli tai pilvi (1949; "As Wind or Clouds"), but her breakthrough came in 1956 with Tama matka ("This Journey"), perhaps the most influential collection of modernist poems of the 1950s in Finland. Her poems are technically advanced and have great richness of association and powerful images. They..