August Ahlqvist
Humanist of the day

August Ahlqvist

August Ahlqvist was a notable linguist, professor of Finnish language and literature, cultural figure and poet. Besides his professorship he held the office of faculty dean, vice-rector and rector of the Imperial Alexander University. Ahlqvist was also an influential critic; his diatribe against Aleksis Kivi’s seminal work, Seven Brothers, was strident enough to delay its publication.

August Ahlqvist

Karl August Engelbrekt Ahlqvist
Born 7 August, 1826, Kuopio. Died 20 November, 1889, Helsinki

Master of Philosophy 1853, Licentiate of Philosophy 1854 Doctor of Philosophy, Imperial Alexander University

Acting professor of Finnish Language and Literature 1862, Full Professor of Finnish Language and Literature 1863–88, Imperial Alexander University

Finnish teacher, Helsingin yksityislyseon (private school in Helsinki) 1859–61
Inspector for the Savokarelian ‘Nation’ 1868–77
Vice-rector 1878–1881, Dean, School of Philosophy (present-day Faculty of Arts) 1882–84
University Rector 1884–87, Imperial Alexander University

Kanslianeuvos (Finnish honorary title granted to distinguished senior civil servants) 1884
Councillor of State 1887
Joint winner of St Petersburg Scientific Academy’s Demidoff Award 1862
Honorary member of various international learned societies

Photo: Museovirasto
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by John Calton

Karl August Engelbrekt Ahlqvist was born and raised in Kuopio. As a schoolboy he became acquainted with Johan Vilhelm Snellman, his headmaster. Ahlqvist’s Finnish translations of poetry were published in Snellman’s journal Saima and Ahlqvist translated the Dane, Ludvig Stoud Platou’s celebrated work Udtog af Geographien (‘Aspects of geography’), making it the first Finnish-language geography textbook.

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