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Pirjo Lyytikäinen

Pirjo Riitta Lyytikäinen
Born October 10, 1953 Helsinki

Master of Philosophy 1986 and Doctor of Philosophy 1992 (Finnish Literature), University of Helsinki; Professor of Finnish Literature 1998- (University of Helsinki); Researcher, University of Helsinki 1987-90 (Kone Foundation grantholder), Assistant 1990-93 (University of Helsinki), Senior Researcher 1994-98 (Academy of Finland)

Publications, research projects and other academic activities

Research interests:  Early modernist periods in Finnish literature, concentrating on turn of the century symbolism and decadence through to the modernism of the 1930s; international  influences on Finnish literature; literary genres and issues of allegory; allegorical nature fantasies, from Alexis Kivi’s romance to contemporary fiction and their relationship to international literary traditions; recent research concerns: literature and emotions.

Prize for non-fiction, Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers 2014.

Written by Pirjo Lyytikäinen
Translated by John Calton, Kaisla Kajava and Johanna Spoof. Revised by John Calton

My Dreams

My dream is fundamentally an emotional matter, and at the same time a serious research question. I hope to one day see a finished and published book called, say, 'Finnish Feelings: An Emotional History of Finnish Literature.' It is based on the newly-launched research on Finnish literature and feelings, which includes my new project, Kirjallisuus ja tunteet ('Literature and emotions'). So far, four researchers of Finnish literature at the University of Helsinki have joined the project.

We have already begun to collaborate with Finnish-language researchers and philosophers, literary scholars from other universities and emotion researchers from other fields, but there is still work to be done. This is a new approach to literary studies, and it opens up completely new fields of study, which promise to yield fascinating results. As an area of research, the study of emotions in Finnish literature is still largely uncharted territory. It presents some interesting challenges for the research methods in the field, too. The complexity of emotions in everyday life is great, too, but feelings in literature come with challenges of their own, especially when looking at the readers' emotional experiences and “narrative emotions” instead of just the feelings described or otherwise expressed in the text.

Photo: Pirjo Lyytikäinen.​


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