Vitriolic Verses

In Finnish: Suolatut säkeet

"What do you think about our country?" is the question the Finns pose to foreigners, and they expect outsiders to praise the country's thousands of lakes and the honesty of the people. Vitriolic Verses examines how these myths about Finnishness were originally created in the seventeenth to the nineteenth century and why. The research material consists of the writings of Finnish historians, the fathers of the nationalist ideal, and poets and novelists who contributed to the aesthetic representation of the country and the nation. The texts are analysed with Foucauldian discourse analysis.

  • Tampere University, Finland; 252 pages, softcover book and free eBook (PhD thesis)
  • Originally published by Finnish Literature Society (SKS), 1997
  • Keywords: Finland; Finnishness; Finnish history; nationalism; Foucault; power

The study unearths alternative interpretations for national narrative traditions. The fundamental question is whether there is enough courage to renounce the age-old cherished myths and take the plunge into a more multifarious Finnishness that takes a critical look at what it has built up.

Professor Rein Raud: "This is a welcome contribution to the study of Finnishnes, although it may raise contradictions, maybe even resentment among some of the more traditionally minded scholars in the field."

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