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social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Finland  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  

The homosexual painter Magnus Knut Enckell (1870-1925) was one of the leading figures in Finnish art circles. Scholars and critics have often downplayed the and celebration of male beauty in Enckell's work, which have been either ignored or explained in terms of sublimated emotion. His little-known sketches have a strong homoerotic overtone. In an original mixture of classical mythology and the modern avant-garde, Enckell's naked men and boys are openly erotic and sensual.

In 1907, he was asked to paint the altarpiece for the new cathedral in the city of Tampere, the third largest city in Finland. In the middle of the painting, which portrays the Resurrection, two men walk hand in hand--a detail that also has often been ignored.

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Finnish poet and translator Kaarlo Teodor Sarkia (1902-1945) is considered a master of meter and rhyme, and one of the most popular poets in Finland before and after World War II. Sarkia published only four collections of poetry, and most of his poems were about unhappy love, longing, loneliness, and death.

Sarkia's first collection of poems, Kahlittu (1929), received good reviews but sold poorly. Several of its poems deal with loneliness and the feeling of being rejected. In "Hunchback Speaking" ("Kyttyräselkä puhuu"), Sarkia portrayed himself as a hunchback, longing for love. Velka elämälle (1931), Sarkia's second collection, includes the homoerotic poem, "Antinous," about the love between the Roman Emperor Hadrian and the handsome youth Antinoüs.

Sarkia's third collection of poems, Unen kaivo (1936), was both a critical and commercial success. His fourth book, Kohtalon vaaka (1943), came out in the middle of the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union, and included several pacifist poems. He died in Sysmä of tuberculosis on November 16, 1945 and was buried in Helsinki.

Novelist, painter, illustrator, and comic strip author Tove Marika Jansson (1914-2001) included lesbian themes in her some of her fiction and is the creator of the internationally acclaimed Moomin characters. Her books have been compared to the work of Lewis Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jansson's companion in life was the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä, whose personality is thought to have inspired the character Too-ticky in Moominland Midwinter (Trollvinter, 1957).

Poet, playwright, essayist, and novelist Pentti Holappa (b. 1927) has written extensively on same-sex desire. His novel Portrait of a Friend (Ystävän muotokuva, 1988), for example, includes highly graphic homosexual scenes and openly depicts an incestuous relationship.

Acclaimed as one of the most notable writers in contemporary Finland, the Swedish-speaking novelist Christer Kihlman (b. 1930) is also one of the first Finnish authors to write openly about homosexuality. His semi-autobiographical novel The Man Who Collapsed (Människan som skalv, 1971) triggered a public discussion of homosexual relationships.

Homosexuality is also a major theme in Kihlman's novels The Blue Mother (Den blå modern, 1963) and The Downfall of Gerdt Bladh (Gerdt Bladhs undergång, 1987), one of the first Finnish works to deal with AIDS.

The lesbian writer Pirkko Helena Saisio (b. 1949) began publishing her plays and novels in the late 1980s and early 1990s under pseudonyms since lesbian writings by female authors were typically refused by Finnish publishers. Under the male pseudonym Jukka Larsson, Saisio received positive reviews for her trilogy The Tormentor (Kiusaaja, 1986), The Tempter (Viettelijä, 1987), and The Bearer (Kantaja, 1991), each inspired by biblical texts.

Her novel The Concrete Night (Betoniyö, 1981) deals with and violence. The Daughter of Cain (Kainin tytäar, 1994), is considered to be the first lesbian novel in Finnish. Her play The Lift (Hissi, 1987) is set in a prison and addresses the theme of lesbian love.

Saisio lives with her partner, Pirjo Honkasalo, a filmmaker, with whom she is raising her biological daughter, and serves as a professor in the Theatre Academy of Finland.

Political Figures

Significant Finnish glbtq political figures include Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (1867-1951). Long rumored to be bisexual, Mannerheim was an astute politician and military leader, first as a general in the Russian Imperial Army and then as Commander-in-Chief of Finland's Defense Forces.

He received the unique title of Marshal of Finland (Suomen Marsalkka) in 1942, the only person to receive such a title, and was later elected as the sixth President of Finland, serving from 1944 to 1946. Although elected to a full six-year term, he left office early due to recurring health problems. In 2004, Mannerheim was voted as the greatest Finnish person of all time in the "Great Finns" ("Suuret Suomalaiset") contest.

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