The work of key authors of fiction in Finland will be discussed as representatives of their historical period in the context of surrounding Finnish society. Some fiction in Finland is published in Swedish; more recently some writers have published books in Lappish (Saami) as well.
The national Finnish literature of the 19th century was written in Swedish by J.L. Runeberg and Z. Topelius and in Finnish by A. Kivi. The Finnish Kalevala, compiled by Elias Lonnrot, was important for all these early writers. During the last decades of the century the realism turned into New Romanticism, with strong national emphasis, also known from the music of Sibelius. The new century shows early Swedish modernism (Edith Sodergran) and Finnish tradition of large epics, represented later also by F. E. Sillanpaa, the only Finnish winner of the Nobel prize for literature, and Vaino Linna, the chronicler of the Finnish soldier.
A selection of texts translated into English will be available and students are expected to read and comment on these texts in their written papers and also orally in class. The literary history is mainly presented by the instructor; there are, however, books and articles in English to be read and used as background information for analysis.