Nordic Literature of Decadence, edited by the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre’s Senior Researcher Mirjam Hinrikus (with Pirjo Lyytikäinen, Riikka Ross and Viola Parente-Čapková), fills a gap on the map of world literature and participates in a thriving area of research by extending the investigation of broadly understood fin de siècle decadence to unexplored areas of Nordic literature, which remain practically unknown to Anglophone audiences. In the Nordic countries the new Parisian movements were seen as having caused a malicious invasion, a ‘black flood’ that was spreading over the North destroying the very foundations of Nordic national cultures. Nevertheless, the appeal of this controversial movement was irresistible to discontents and innovators, even in countries where the old moral, religious and nationalist atmosphere still retained its stranglehold and modern urban, industrial and social developments lagged behind that of the metropoles breeding this new literature and art.
The Nordic countries developed their own distinctive manifestations of decadence favouring allegorical and allusive forms, local rural settings and depictions of primitive nature, coupling the philosophical underpinnings of fin-de-siècle decadence with ancient Nordic mythology and rising national movements. Nordic decadence thus became a distinctive and recognizable phenomenon, which travelled back to France and other European countries, influencing the ongoing debate on decadence as it was conducted on a global scale.
Nordic Literature of Decadence discusses literature from five Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia and offers additional and alternative perspectives to the cosmopolitan traffic and cultural exchanges of literary decadence that have been explored so far in the English language scholarship.
The book was published by Routledge (New York and London) as part of the series Among the Victorians and Modernists and will be presented in Helsinki in November.
Pirjo Lyytikäinen is Professor of Finnish Literature at the University of Helsinki, and a specialist in symbolism and decadence. She has published extensively on Finnish decadence, and its relationship to French and Nordic decadence.
Riikka Rossi is a Docent of Finnish literature at the University of Helsinki. She is a specialist in literary naturalism, and her main interests include the poetics of naturalism from a comparative perspective, primitivism and the study of literature and emotions.
Viola Parente-Čapková is a Researcher and a Project Leader at the University of Turku. Her major research interests are decadent and symbolist literature in a comparative European perspective and transnational networks of fin de siècle women writers.
Mirjam Hinrikus is currently a Senior Researcher at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on discourses of decadence, and antifeminism and feminism in Estonian literature and culture.