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Det tänkande landskapet: landskapsskildringarna i Olavi Paavolainens Synkkä yksinpuhelu (Finlandia i moll)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities.
1997 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the distinctive character and variations in the landscape portraits in Synkkä yksinpuhelu, by the Finnish author Olavi Paavolainen, as well as investigate the significance of the landscape portraits for the work as a whole. Paavolainen calls his work a war diary. It comprises the years 1939-1944 when Finland suffered first the Winter War (Russo-Finnish War) and then the Continuation War with the Soviet Union.

The author served at the front during the first year of the Continuation War and then afterwards at general staff headquaters. In the first part of the work the author focuses on describing the Karelian landscape which had become the battlefield. The latter part brings out the war time political events in Finland and in other parts of the warring world.

As a form, the diary gives the author possibilities to use texts with various styles and content. In general, Synkkä yksinpuhelu can be said to contain history, autobiography, political and cultural essays, landscape portraits and travel sketches.

The landscape portraits assume a central position in the book because of the scope, about a third of the total pages. In these portraits a few of the main themes of the work are developed. At the same time these themes build an antithetical relationship: nature creates and preserves life while war annihilates it.

A number of the portraits, for exemple, descriptions of the moon and burial places, are a recurrent motif, giving the text structure and strengthening the theme of impermanence.

In an exteded sense, Paavolainen's own concept of the thinking landscape can be used to characterize his portraits because the surrounding landscapes communicate his own moods and thoughts. This manner of describing nature ties together schools of art, such as romanticism, symbolism, expressionism and surrealism, where it is characteristic to allow the outer world to reflect the inner state of the soul.

Paavolainen makes numerous references to works, authors and artists from the 19th and 20th centuries in his portraits. Using means such as irony and antithesis and with a sprinkling of ambivalence, the intertextual and interartistic relations illuminate the author's attitudes towards prevailing conditions. They also accentuate his thoughts about the purpose of existence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International , 1997. , 333 p.
Studia Fennica Stockholmiensia, ISSN 0284-4273 ; 6
Keyword [en]
landscape portrait, motif, leitmotif, paysage d'âme, romanticism, symbolism, expressionism, surrealism, intertextuality, interartistic relations
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-47763ISBN: 9171536078OAI: diva2:374122
Public defence
1997-05-24, Hörsal 1, hus A, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (Finnish)
Available from: 2010-12-02 Created: 2010-12-02 Last updated: 2012-12-17Bibliographically approved

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