Martti Haavio
Humanist of the day

Martti Haavio

Martti Haavio was a folklorist and mythologist. In addition to academia he was involved in publishing, making a forceful contribution to cultural life. He was perhaps best known by his pseudonym P. Mustapää. His verse lent the Finnish language a new rhythm and form: many a Finn has been lulled to sleep with the words of the ‘Sininen uni’ (‘Blue dream’) lyric, taken from his poem: “Joka ilta kun lamppu sammuu ja saapuu oikea yö”, 'Each evening when the lamp is out and true night comes around'.

Martti Haavio

Martti Henrikki Haavio (writing under the nom de plume P. Mustapää)
Born 22 January, 1899, Temmes. Died 4 February, 1973, Helsinki.

Master of Arts, 1923, Licentiate of Philosophy 1930, Doctor of Philosophy, 1932, University of Helsinki

Docent, Finnish and comparative folklore studies, 1932, University of Helsinki
Poet and folklore researcher.
Archivist, Finnish folklore collection, 1931–34, Director, 1934–48, Manager, 1948, Finnish Literature Society.
Clerk, literary division, 1924–31, 1941–46, Director of Literature 1946–51, WSOY publishing house.
Acting Professor of Finnish and Comparative Folklore Studies, 1947–49, and Professor 1949–56, University of Helsinki.

Member, Academy of Finland, 1956–69
President, Student ‘nation’ for Finland Proper, 1923–24, 1927–28, Inspector, 1951–56 and honorary member, 1966
Member, Kalevala Society, 1933, working member, 1941, and Honorary Member, 1969
Deputy-member, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 1933, and Member, 1947–49
Chairman, Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, 1963–69
Correspondent member, Ôpetatud Eesti Seltsi–The Learned Estonian Society, 1938
Member, Litterarum Societas Esthonica, 1938
Member, Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur (‘King Gustaf Adolf’s academy for Swedish folk culture’), Uppsala, 1953
Involvement on boards of various learned societies and foundations.

Photo: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by John Calton

Martti Haavio was born in Temmes in 1899. While still a schoolboy, he developed an interest in folk poetry and writing. In the autumn of 1918, Haavio began his studies in the Finnish language, literature and folklore at the Imperial Alexander University. He wrote descriptions of his university years in…

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