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Hannu Riikonen

H. K. (Hannu) Riikonen
Born August 3, 1948, Helsinki

Master of Arts (Roman literature) 1970, Licentiate 1972, PhD 1978 (comparative literature), University of Helsinki

Professor of comaparative literature 1997–, University of Helsinki
Acting teaching and research assistant in Roman literature 1971–74, University of Helsinki
Acting assistant professor of literature 1974, University of Jyväskylä
Part-time lecturer in comparative literature, 1974–79, University of Helsinki, Helsinki Summer University
Acting assistant professor of comparative literature 1975, University of Helsinki
Docent in the history of literature 1978–95, University of Helsinki
Acting assistant professor, assistant professor and acting professor of comparative literature 1979–93, University of Turku
Professor of comparative literature and aesthetics 1994–97, University of Helsinki
Head of the Department of Art Studies, 1998–2001, vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts 2007–09, University of Helsinki

Research themes:
Influence of Greek and Roman culture, the history of Finnish translations, the history of science and learning, Pentti Saarikoski, Olavi Paavolainen, James Joyce and Ezra Pound

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland, badge of merit for 30 years service, Silver Medal of the University of Helsinki
Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and the Finnish Society of Science and Letters

Written by H. K. Riikonen (Kaija Hartikainen, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Correspondence—My Primary Literary Activity

I have occasionally given a lecture series on the letter as a form of written expression. But for me the letter is not just an area of academic interest; rather, it is a vital way of expressing myself in writing. For decades I have maintained correspondence with friends and colleagues. I do not mean in a professional manner, but personal correspondence. At the centre of it is my ongoing correspondence with professor Eero Tarasti, which began when we were students. Our correspondence between 1961 and 1976 was published in 1999 as a 400 page book, titled Eero ja Hannu (‘Eero and Hannu’). The number of letters I have written over the years has grown so great that I can, with good reason, regard it as my primary literary activity. My correspondence still involves traditional letters, but these days there are also several long e-mails.

The importance of Turku and its environs has grown for H.K. Riikonen. Picture from the beach at Ruissalo. Photo from the home archive of H.K. Riikonen.


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