Sometimes the horror stories about the details of past exam questions are true.
The student Antti Majander came badly unstuck in an examination on the Finnish critic’s Aarne Kinnunen’s Haanpäät pitkät varjot (‘Haanpää’s long shadow’). Majander thought he knew Haanpää’s work well and supposed that he’d be alright. The examination was set by a then young teacher, nowadays the Professor of Contemporary Literature, Jyrki Nummi.
Nummi wanted to know what Kinnunen meant by the principle of subordinating structure in Haanpää’s oeuvre. The principle could be found at the bottom of page 283.
– I really had no idea, and just had to come up with something. When I got hold of the book, I looked it up. There was one sentence about The Principle.
Majander made it through the examination, since there were several questions.
– I asked Jyrki about the Principle question. He answered that it was so difficult coming up with questions and it was such a straightforward matter.