This essay examines the Swedish-speaking Finnish writer Zacharias Topelius’ (1818-98) historical novel Fältskärns berättelser (The Surgeon’s Stories, 1853-67), which deals with the common history of Sweden and Finland in the 17th and 18th centuries. I seek to understand how Topelius as a novelist rethinks and reformulates the history of Finland before its separation from Sweden in 1809, in order to make the past serve as a foothold in the midst of the nation-building process taking place in the writer’s own time. This approach to the novel is interesting in relation to a statement made by Topelius in 1843, whereby Finland had no history before the Swedish-Russian war of 1808/09 – an opinion he was never actually willing to revise, in spite of his position as professor of Finnish history at the University of Helsinki and reputation as the founder of the Finnish historical novel. My attempt while discussing the work is twofold: on the one hand I wish to ponder upon the domestication of the muse of history, Clio, in the periphery, which involves laying bare the strategy which leads Topelius to transform a Swedish provincial history into a Finnish national history. This is done by identifying the relationship between past and present, which encapsulates aspects of the past that may serve as guidelines for the present and for the future. On the other hand, I look at the role of Surgeon Bäck as the narrator of a story which is both history and fiction, while trying to determine the position of his muse in the context of the historical novel as a genre. In this context, Bäck seems to distinguish himself from the common narrator of a historical novel, as no attempt is made to convince the reader of his credibility as a narrator. The Surgeon is quite at ease both when considering himself, as well as when being considered by his audience, as a storyteller whose main task is to popularize and attract the readers’ interest for a national history of Finland in the making.
|Titolo:||Klio i periferin och utanför anatomisalen. Historien och historieskrivningens väsen i Zacharias Topelius «Fältskärns berättelser»,|
STORSKOG, CAMILLA CARITA (Primo)
|Parole Chiave:||Topelius; the Historical Novel; Fältskärns berättelser; history of Finland; fiction.|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-LIN/15 - Lingue e Letterature Nordiche|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|