The Written Youth. Contemporary Interpretations of Finnish Youth During the First Half of the 20th Century

Ilona Kemppainen, Kirsti Salmi-Niklander & Saara Tuomaala (eds.)

(In Finnish: Kirjoitettu nuoruus. Aikalaistulkintoja 1900-luvun alkupuolen nuoruudesta)

The anthology focuses on young people’s writings, and texts written for or about young people in early 20th century Finland. During this period, reading and writing became an important part of young people’s lives also in working class and agrarian families. In addition to everyday life, human relations, and love and life values, the Civil War of 1918 and the Second World War were reflected in young people’s own writings, in youth literature and in press debates.

Kirsti Salmi-Niklander, Saara Tuomaala and Marko Tikka analyse handwritten newspapers, which were a strong tradition in schools, families and popular organizations. Marianne Junila focuses on school essays written by young girls at a secondary school in Tampere in autumn 1918, in which they depict their experiences during the Civil War.

Hellevi Hakala and Tuomas Tepora explore the ideological meanings of youth literature, which started to be established in Finland during the 1920s and 1930s. Ilona Kemppainen analyses the press debate on young people’s role in the forthcoming war at the beginning of the Continuation War in autumn 1941.

Young people’s literary worlds were created in different discussions and tensions, and in literary and social institutions. They participated in these processes as active actors, readers and writers. Their literary expression was also influenced by the values and ideological challenges of adults.