Bo Pettersson
Humanist of the day

Bo Pettersson

How does literature represent life? How are rhetorical figures and narratives combined? How are we to interpret literature? What does it mean to different people in different periods? Professor Bo Pettersson seeks to answer such questions. The author and scholar David Lodge has said that literature is a treasure trove of human consciousness – if so Professor Pettersson is a treasure hunter.

Bo Pettersson

Bo Johan Otto Pettersson
17 February, 1957, Turku, Finland

BA 1979, MA 1983, Lic. Phil. 1986, PhD 1995 (English, Åbo Akademi University); MA (English, UC Berkeley), 1986

Professor in the Literature of the United States (English, University of Helsinki) 1998-
Research Assistant (Academy of Finland) 1986–1991
Assistant (English, Åbo Akademi University) 1989–1995
Acting Associate Professor (English, University of Turku) 1995–1996
Junior Researcher (Academy of Finland) 1996–1997
Associate Professor in the Literature of the United States (English, University of Helsinki) 1997–1998.

Publications, research projects and other scientific activities
Anglo-American literature, other literatures, narrative studies, cognitive literary studies, literary theory and interpretation, the study of imagination, aesthetics (philosophical and empirical), rhetorical figures, interdisciplinarity, interarts, popular culture and combinations of these and other areas.

Photo: Marjut Pettersson
Author: Bo Pettersson
Revised by John Calton

In recent years I have studied literary contexts, the relation between mimesis (literary representation) and genre, especially in realist fiction and science fiction, imagination in literature, literary studies and teaching, plotless novels, the linguistic turns in the humanities, addressivity and hypothetical expressions in poetry, the relation between rhetorical figures and narratives, as well as various manifestations of unreliability in fiction.

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At the University of Helsinki I have been in charge of literary research and teaching in English (1997-), Head or Associate Head of the Department of English (later the English Unit) (2001–2011), Deputy Member of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts (2010-) and Director of the research community Interfaces between Language, Literature and Culture (2010-).

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  • 1st Prize in the youth organization Svensk Ungdom’s Writing Competition 1980
  • ASLA-Fulbright Scholarship (UC Berkeley) 1985–1986
  • The Finnish Critics’ Association’s Prize 1998
  • The Oskar Öflund Foundation Prize 2006
  • Member of The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters 2010
  • Honorary Member of The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland 2013
  • Honorary…
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