Indiana University Bloomington
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The Rise of Finnish Culture through Literature
Catalog Number CEUS-U 320/520
Pia-Maria Paivio

This lecture/ discussion course examines the major narrative texts of Finnish classical literature. Special emphasis is given to the historical period in the context of surrounding Finnish society. For example, how the classical literature has described the values of a good and respectable Finn. Some of the themes in the course are:

-Agricola (the founder of Finnish language)
-The national epic Kalevala and its influence on Finnish culture
-Seven brothers (The first novel written in Finnish by Aleksis Kivi)
-women’s issues in literature and first women writers and samples of their work
-‘What does being a Finn mean in the classical literature?’
-The first plays and playwrights in Finnish
-the importance of literature as an inspiration to the fine arts of the classical period
-the sources of classical literature (e. g. the eastern and western tribes and their differences, the Lappish (saami) and Karelian culture).

The historical and cultural contexts of the literary works will be examined, as well as their influence in other fine arts, music and performing arts.

A selection of translated texts and articles on Finnish literary and cultural history will be available in the course packet. Students are expected to read and comment on these texts in weekly written homework assignments and actively take part in discussion in class. Support for the textual material will be drawn from fine arts, films and music. The rise of the classical literature and culture as well as the rise of national identity will be seen as a holistic cultural phenomenon. 

Course material:

-Lecturer’s course packet
-Linna Väinö: Under the North Star. Translated from the original [Täällä Pohjantähden alla] by Richard Impola. Aspasia Books, Beaverton, Canada, 2001.
-Music, visual material, films to support the literature


- Midterm

Grading:  Attendance and discussion participation, a written homework assignment each week, midterm exam and final paper.