According to Topschoolsintheusa, Finnish literature of the early seventies appears to be characterized by social and political commitment and the rejection of elitist aesthetic canons, in the wake of the European 1968, which had produced a large number of ” anti-literary ” texts (documentaries, pamphlets, denunciations) putting aside the real literature. Soon, however, we witness the reaction of those authors who, while sharing the ideas of the militant left, want to follow an individual line in their artistic production.
In poetry this ebb is also evident in the abandonment of deliberately anarchic formal experiments and in the return to a more measured expression and to the theme of nature, which has always been the primary source of inspiration for Finnish art.
This is found in the production of V. Kirstinä (b. 1936), who from the aggressive and pessimistic collection Pitkän tähtäyksen LSD-suunnitelma (1967, “The LSD project in the long run”) comes to the intimate and quietly philosophical Elämä ilman sijaista (1977 , “Life without a substitute”). The poetry of P. Saarikoski (1937-1983) undergoes a similar evolution: from the colloquial and controversial style of the Mitä tapahtuu todella collection (1962, “What really happens?”) It comes to Hämärän tanssit (1983, “The dance in the dark”) to a more measured intimism, with motifs inspired by current events or deriving from classical antiquity. Classical authors of poetic modernism such as E.-L. Manner (b. 1921) and P. Haavikko (b. 1931) continued their activity throughout the seventies and eighties, refining their artistic-philosophical line. Haavikko offers original and witty interpretations of the country’s past in the theatrical poems Ratsumies (1974, “The Knight”) and Rauta-aika (1982, “The Iron Age”); his poetic production is collected in the volume Sillat (1984, “I ponti”); he also published an unconventional autobiography, Yritys omaksi kuvaksi (1987, “Attempt for a Self-Portrait”). Manner favors exotic and fantastic themes, as in the Kuolleet vedet collection (1977, “Dead waters”), but does not forget current issues such as social and political oppression, for example. in the novel Varokaa voittajat (1972, “Attenti, vincitori!”), about the tragic events of a South American family. In the last two decades, A.-M. Raittila (b.1928) and M. Rekola (b.1931) have also developed their own lyrical expression, making their debut in the 1950s. Raittila’s lyric, reflective, ethically committed and religious in an unconventional way, finds its deepest expression in the Lehtimajanjuhla collection(1987, “Feast of the Tabernacles”); that of Rekola, characterized by a laconic and measured modernistic form, blends the philosophy of patience and discreet participation in external events in the collection Puun syleilemällä (1983, “With the embrace of the tree”) and in Maskuja (1987, “Aphorisms by Masku “), fragments of prose poetry.
Among the poets of the latest generation, R. Rasa (b. 1954) emerges, a delicate interpreter of nature and love; P. Saaritsa (b. 1941), whose poetry stands out for its irony and a sense of relativity; and S. Turkka (b. 1939), with a formally simple and natural expression and at the same time intense and suggestive (for the collection Tule takaisin pikku Sheba, 1986, “Torna a casa piccola Sheba”, won the Finland prize in 1987).
In the Swedish-speaking Finnish poem B. Carpelan (b. 1926) is still the most appreciated author with his lyrics of a modernism measured in the collections Objekt för ord (1954, “Objects for words”) and Dagen vänder (1983, ” The day turns “) who interpret reality through impressions drawn from nature, personal memories and historical facts (in 1977 he was awarded the Scandinavian Council award). Among the Finnish poets also emerge L. Huldén (b. 1926), M. Tikkanen (b. 1935), C. Andersson (b. 1936) and C. Westerberg (b. 1946).
Prose reacted less than poetry to the ideological and formal changes of the years following the sixties. The popular realistic novel in a rural or urban setting continues its strong tradition and produces masterpieces such as the trilogy Täällä Pohjantähden alla (1959-62, “Here, under the North Star”) by V. Linna (b. 1920), an epos of the twentieth-century rural proletariat; the style and the narrative language however undergo notable transformations.
Meri (b. 1928) introduces a new genre of prose with the anti-militarist novel Manillaköysi (1957, “The Manila rope”), translated into dozens of languages; his layered, often enigmatic style, prominently featured in the more recent Jääkiekkoilijan kesä (1980, “Ice Hockey Player’s Summer”), served as a model for the new generation of prose writers.
Salama (b. 1936) stands out for its colloquial style, sometimes rough language and realistic atmospheres up to brutality. His main works, Juhannustanssit (1964, “The dance of St. John”), Siinä näkijä missä tekijä (1972, “Who makes is seen”) and the five novels of Finland-sarja (1976-82, “Finnish series”), they had critical praise, but mixed reactions from the audience; more controlled and refined is Amos ja saarelaiset (1987, “Amos and the islanders”), a pessimistic fantasy set in the post-nuclear age.
Ruuth (b. 1943) describes the working-class environment and daily life in Helsinki in the 1960s and 1980s in Nousukausi (1977, “The era of well-being”) and Prinsessa ja sikopaimen (1987, “The princess and the swineherd “).
Turunen (b. 1945) continues the sanguine and colorful rural prose of the Eastern writers such as J. Lehtonen; in the novels Simpauttaja (1973, “The Bore “), Kivenpyörittäjän kylä (1976, “The Village of the Village Madman”) and Maan True (1987, “The Blood of the Earth”), he describes with strong expressions, sometimes grotesque and paradoxical, the contrast between urban and country life, which for him is more natural and positive.
The sanguine narrative, seasoned with black humor, by A. Tuuri (b.1944) deals with social problems and relationships with others in the countryside, in factories and in the army, and emigration to America in the novels Pohjanmaa (1986, “Ostrobothnia”) and Uusi Jerusalem (1988, “New Jerusalem”). V. Huovinen (b. 1927) cultivates a kind of humor rare in Finnish literature, satire; his most representative works are Havukka-ahon ajattelija (1962, “The philosopher of the forest”) and Joe setä (1988, “Uncle Joe”), a story about Stalin.
Already established in the 1950s and 1960s, the writers E. Pennanen (b.1916), E. Joenpelto (b.1921), K.-K. Suosalmi (b. 1921), E. Kilpi (b. 1928) and A. Kaipainen (b. 1933) continued the trend that describes with realism and participation the life of the middle and petty bourgeoisie and the problems of the female psyche. Joenpelto Lohja-sarja’s tetralogy (1971-78, “The Lohja series”), a historical-social and psychological analysis of a provincial family in the first half of the twentieth century, aroused particular attention.
Among the narrators of the younger generation stands L. Krohn (b. 1947), author of fantastic stories such as Tainaron (1985) and Oofirin kultaa (1987, “The gold of Ofir”) who, through allegories, describe common behaviors. Another novelist, J. Skiftesvik (b. 1948), describes the daily reality of the Far North with dry and incisive style. His collection Suolamänty (1988, “The pine of salt”) contains tales of skilled burlesque fiction.
Swedish-speaking Finnish prose writers have a more urban and international orientation than Finnish-speaking ones, who are closer to the problems of rural and provincial people.
Kihlman (b. 1930) is an acute critic of Finnish bourgeois society, and in the novels Den blå modern (1963, “The blue mother”) and Gerdt Bladhs undergång (1987, “The decline of GB”) the distortions that characterize the personal relationships in that minority. J. Donner (b. 1933) is interested in historical-cultural aspects on a European scale in Rapport från Donau (1962, “Report from the Danube”) and in the family chronicle Far och son (1984, “Father and son”) for which received the Finland Award in 1986.