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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

My Best Moments at the University of Helsinki

Along with ancient Roman literature, comparative literature is the successor to eloquence (eloquentia) as a field of study. The first professor of comparative literature at the University of Helsinki, Fredrik Cygnaeus, was the most accomplished orator of his time. The highlights of my own career are connected to this tradition. I have given several speeches at post-doctoral parties, and it has always been a pleasure to speak in honour of the new graduates. I have also given several speeches at other occasions, the most memorable of which was the one I gave at the 100th anniversary party of the Scientific Agricultural Society of Finland.

As great as many individual moments have been, I also consider it a true privilege to have been able to work with young people throughout my career. By teaching young students I have also constantly learnt new things myself. I have always found teaching inspiring. Thanks to the freedom the University grants to its lecturers, I have also been free to be myself, with all my eccentricities, at lectures and seminars.

Heavy conferences require heady pleasures. H.K. Riikonen at a conference on Ezra Pound in Rapallo. Photo from the home archive of R.H. Riikonen.


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