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Heta Pyrhönen

Heta Marjatta Pyrhönen
Born December 4, 1960

Master of Arts, 1989, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1994, Doctor of Philosophy, 1998 (Comparative Literature), University of Helsinki

Professor of General Literature, 2000-
Research Assistant, Faculty of Arts, 1985-6
Research Assistant, Academy of Finland, 1986
Assistant, Department of Comparative Literature, Aesthetics and Theatre Studies (1989-90, 1992, 1994)
Doctoral Student, Graduate School for Literature and Textuality, 1995-7
Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, 1997-8

Research Interests
Popular literature, esp. crime fiction, women’s writing and writers, adaptations, narratology and psychoanalytical literary research.

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Photo: Maureen Cassidy
Written by Heta Pyrhönen, (Kaija Hartikainen, ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My best moments at the University of Helsinki

My best moments at the University of Helsinki can be divided into the private and social. The best private moments are associated with signing publishing contracts for books and articles at my desk. It is especially gratifying to hold a book or journal “hot from the press” and feel relieved and happy for the work done. As interesting as it is, the work gets forgotten after publication and your brain makes space for new topics.

There are plenty of best social moments. I am very happy to have great colleagues and insightful discussions with them. Lunch hours and coffee pauses are lovely because it is a good time to exchange thoughts about research- and teaching-related problems but also to come up with solutions.

Teaching also involves some rewarding moments. Every now and then you realise that a seminar or lecture group are genuinely engaged in the topic and participate actively and excitedly in interactive reflection. It is that experience of sharing that is the best. I recall one particular introductory course lecture where the entire group comprising literally dozens of students stood and read an excerpt of Seitsemän veljestä (‘Seven brothers’) out loud together. It really sounded grand to the ear. We were reflecting on conceptions of reading in the eighteenth century, the effects of which were seen above all as corporal.  The discussion resulted indeed in many interesting observations about the influences of reading on the body.

Heta Pyrhönen at her workstation. Photo: Katja Jalkanen/Avain.​
Heta Pyrhönen at her workstation. Photo: Katja Jalkanen/Avain.​


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