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Jyrki Nummi

Jyrki Tapio Nummi
Born February 9, 1953, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1980, Licentiate 1985, PhD 1993 (comparative literature and aesthetics), University of Helsinki

Professor of Finnish Literature 2003–, University of Helsinki
Research Fellow, 1999, 2000-03, Academy of Finland
Lecturer in Finnish Language 1989–2003, Helsinki Institute of Technology
Visiting professor of Finnish language and literature 1987–88, Indiana University

Research themes:
(Historical) poetics, the study of the canon, modernism and genre, research on the works of, inter alia, Väinö Linna, Aleksis Kivi and Juhani Aho

Publications, projects and other academic activity

Research and development projects:
Critical Editions of the Works of Aleksis Kivi (2010–)
Suomalainen klassikkokirjasto ( ‘Library of Finnish classics’) – electronic infrastructure (2010–)

Annual award of students of Finnish literature: “Blunder of the year in a lecture,” 2011

Written by  Jyrki Nummi (Kaija Hartikainen, ed.)
Photo: Sasa Tkalcan
Translated by Matthew Billington

Additional roles

As a professor at the University of Helsinki, one is dragged, against one’s inclinations, into all kinds of administrative and expert roles and positions of responsibility, starting from that of teaboy at alumni events. The Suomalainen klassikkokirjasto (‘Library of Finnish Classics’) project, begun at the behest of the Rector, and its functional planning, fundraising and running its pilot project in cooperation with the University Library and the National Library of Finland has engaged me for years, as it will for years to come.

A natural point of contact for a scholar of Finnish literature is the Finnish Literature Society, with which I have cooperated for years in formulating and publishing critical editions of the works of Aleksis Kivi. Literary prizes and awards mercilessly swallow one’s time if one mistakenly agrees to such tasks. But mistakes are instructional, and the Finlandia, Lea and Aleksi Kivi prizes have broadened my perspective on literary life. At the Kalevi Jäntti Foundation, which awards prizes to young authors, a pile of books awaits me every autumn, through which it is possible to follow developments in Finnish literature.

Celebration in the University of Helsinki’s Great Hall commemorating 150 years since the birth of the author Juhani Aho.

An important position of responsibility outside the University has been my chairmanship of an expert group on the teaching of Finnish language and culture, which operates under the auspices of CIMO, the Centre for International Mobility. This body sends Finnish language teachers abroad and coordinates about 100 Finnish language and teaching centres around the world. The results of this activity can be widely seen in academic and cultural exchanges, translation activity and the grassroots expansion of knowledge of Finland abroad.

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