Hella Wuolijoki, kulttuurivaikuttaja : vuosisata Hella Wuolijoen syntymästä
Published inJyväskylä Studies in the Arts
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Hella Wuolijoki (1886-1954) has many links with Finnish cultural life. She is known, above all, as a playwright, but her name is also firmly established with Finnish political history. An international Hella Wuolijoki congress was organized June 9-11 1987 in the University of Jyväskylä. The main themes and studies of this congress have been collected in the present volume. In part one of the volume Lauri Haataja (Researcher, University of Helsinki), in his study "Hella Wuolijoki in the borderland of two worlds" locates Hella Wuolijoki in Finnish history and politics. A key to understanding the goals and motives behind Wuolijoki's social activities is offered by the fact that she, during her university years in Helsinki (1904-1908), was a keen supporter of the first, international Bolshevik generation. Wuolijoki lived in the borderland of two worlds: that of a fictitious Utopia and that of cold realities. Sometimes her Utopian economic and political plans were realized, sometimes they were obstructed by realities and resulted in catastrophies - the worst being her imprisonment as a traitor during the Second World War. After her release from prison in 1944 she embarked upon politics, working actively in Finnish Parliament and in SKDL (People's Democratic Union of Finland). Lauri Haataja gives evidence of Wuolijoki's significant post-war role in establishing the stand adopted by Finland with the West as well as with the East. Hella Wuolijoki played a significant role also in changing Finnish post-war foreign policy: as a background figure she influenced J. K. Paasikivi and his line in foreign policy. Wuolijoki's social career reached its culmination with her appointment to President of the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation ( 1945-1949). The second part of the volume looks at Hella Wuolijoki as a playwright. Oskar Kruus (Writer, Tallin, USSR) examines Hella Wuolijoki's (nee Murric) Estonian ancestry. Born and brought up in the fertile farming area of Southern Estonia Wuolijoki used Estonian in her early literary writings. After her first play Talulapsed (1912) she wrote three more plays in Estonian in the early 1930s. In the novel Udutagused and its sequel she described Estonian countryside. Wuolijoki' s impressions of Estonian and Finnish country life were very similar and in her work she has often merged together Estonian and Finnish themes. Hella Wuolijoki's plays are famous for their female characters. Irmeli Niemi (Professor, University of Turku) views Wuolijoki's plays from this angle and compares them to the plays of two other Finnish women writers Minna Canth and Maria Jotuni, finding many similarities. Jukka Ammondt (Reader, University of Jyväskylä) examines Wuolijoki' s personality and the many conflicting aspects inherent in it. The agrarian childhood environment and the socialist views that Wuolijoki adopted later in her life are both reflected in the characters of her plays. These tensions find their dramatically most mature expression in the Niskavuori series (1936-1953). Vladimir Blok (Dr.phil.sc., Soviet Academy of Science, Moscow, USSR) proposes to find reasons for the unusually great popularity of Wuolijoki' s plays in the Soviet Union. He attributes this to the new psychological emphasis on the "emotional conflicts" that the plays create in spectators. These conflicts arise from reactions that pull the spectators to two opposing directions. Blok draws attention to actress Vera Pasennaja's interpretations of the female roles in the Niskavuori series. The third part juxtaposes Hella Wuolijoki and the cinema. Cinematographic adaptations of Wuolijoki' s plays are the object of the study by Jukka Ammondt who points out that scenes of dramatic climax proved to be the hardest to adapt. Best results were obtained by bravely deviating from the original text to the direction of 'intersecting', as the technique is called in cinematographic language. In his article Kari Uusitalo (Film researcher, Finnish Film Institute, Helsinki) claims that film adaptations of Hella Wuolijoki' s plays occupy a central place in the tradition of Finnish cinema. The great popularity of the Wuolijoki films is apparent from the fact that there are two or even three film versions of some of the Niskavuori plays. Jukka Sihvonen (Film researcher, University of Turku) deals with film education rather than Hella Wuolijoki films in particular. He emphasizes the complementary - and not the antithetic - nature of the pictorial and verbal languages as the basic assumption for film education. By encouraging analytical viewing, one also promotes a critical attitude to life. Part four of the book deals with Hella Wuolijoki and her cooperation with the famous dramatist Bertolt Brecht. Richard Semrau (Dr.phil.sc., Humboldt-Universität, DDR) in his article concentrates on Wuolijoki's and Brecht's aesthetic ideas and on those literary works that resulted from their meeting in Finland (1940-1941). Despite their beneficial cooperation there are considerable differences in their aesthetic conceptions, which influenced the way each of them selected, used and organized their materia!: Wuolijoki's considerations were mainly aesthetic, whereas Brecht's were realistic. It is surprising that among Brecht's translations into German there should be so many texts translated from Finnish. These translations are examined by Hans Peter Neureuter (Dr.phil.sc., Universität Regensburg, BRD). Wuolijoki provided an important bridge to Brecht whose translations from Finnish fall into two broad categories: folklore and modern political poems by poets in the Kiila group. The article gives a thorough account ob Brecht's methods of translation and of how he used the materia! made available to him. Jukka Ammondt's study of Bertolt Brecht's influence on Hella Wuolijoki' work covers a hitherto unexplored area. Brecht's influence is noticeable in Niskavuoren Heta from Wuolijoki's later period. In this play Wuolijoki touches upon the problem of goodness which provides a point of comparison with Brecht's play Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. Wuolijoki applied Brechtian elements in her own dramatic art in a way that created a structurally new type of play. Hella Wuolijoki / Finnish drama: Wuolijoki, Canth, Jotuni/ Soviet theatre and Hella Wuolijoki' s plays/ Adaptation: drama to film / Hella Wuolijoki and Finnish cinema / Film education / Bertolt Brecht and Hella Wuolijoki / Bertolt Brecht in Finland. ...
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