of Swedish works, but more and more that of examples of the aboriginal vernacular. At the present time, in spite of the political troubles, books in almost every branch of research are found in the language, mainly translations or adaptations. We meet with, during the present century, a considerable number of names of poets and dramatists, no doubt very minor, as also painters, sculptors and musical composers. At the Paris International Exhibition of 1878 several native Finnish painters and sculptors exhibited works which would do credit to any country; and both in the fine and applied arts Finland occupied a position thoroughly creditable. An important contribution to a history of Finnish literature is Krohn's Suomenkielinen runollisuns ruotsinvallan aikana (1862). Finland is wonderfully rich in periodicals of all kinds, the publications of the Finnish Societies of Literature and of Sciences and other learned bodies being specially valuable. A great work in the revival of an interest in the Finnish language was done by the Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (the Finnish Literary Society), which from the year 1841 has published a valuable annual, Suomi. The Finnish Literary Society has also published a new edition of the works of the father of Finnish history, Henry Gabriel Porthan (died 1804). A valuable handbook of Finnish history was published at Helsingfors in 1869-1873, by Yrjö Koskinen, and has been translated into both Swedish and German. The author was a Swede, Georg Forsman, the above form being a Finnish translation. Other works on Finnish history and some inportant works in Finnish geography have also appeared. In language we have Lönnrot's great Finnish-Swedish dictionary, published by the Finnish Literary Society. Dr Otto Donner's Comparative Dictionary of the Finno-Ugric Languages (Helsingfors and Leipzig) is in German. In imaginative literature Finland has produced several important writers of the vernacular. Alexis Stenwall (“Kiwi”) (1834-1872), the son of a village tailor, was the best poet of his time; he wrote popular dramas and an historical romance, The Seven Brothers (1870). Among recent playwrights Mrs Minna Canth (1844-1897) has been the most successful. Other dramatists are E. F. Johnsson (1844-1895), P. Cajander (b. 1846), who translated Shakespeare into Finnish, and Karl Bergbom (b. 1843). Among lyric poets are J. H. Erkko (b. 1849), Arwi Jännes (b. 1848) and Yrjö Weijola (b. 1875). The earliest novelist of Finland, Pietari Päivärinta (b. 1827), was the son of a labourer; he is the author of a grimly realistic story, His Life. Many of the popular Finnish authors of our day are peasants. Kauppis Heikki was a wagoner; Alkio Filander a farmer; Heikki Maviläinen a smith; Juhana Kokko (Kyösti) a gamekeeper. The most gifted of the writers of Finland, however, is certainly Juhani Aho (b. 1861), the son of a country clergyman. His earliest writings were studies of modern life, very realistically treated. Aho then went to reside in France, where he made a close study of the methods of the leading French novelists of the newer school. About the year 1893 he began to publish short stories, some of which, such as Enris, The Fortress of Matthias, The Old Man of Korpela and Finland's Flag, are delicate works of art, while they reveal to a very interesting degree the temper and ambitions of the contemporary Finnish population. It has been well said that in the writings of Juhani Aho can be traced all the idiosyncrasies which have formed the curious and pathetic history of Finland in recent years. A village priest, Juho Reijonen (b. 1857), in tales of somewhat artless form, has depicted the hardships which poverty too often entails upon the Finn in his country life. Tolstoy has found an imitator in Arwid Järnefelt (b. 1861). Santeri Ingman (b. 1866) somewhat naïvely, but not without skill, has followed in the steps of Aho. It would be an error to exaggerate either the force or the originality of these early developments of a national Finnish literature, which, moreover, are mostly brief and unambitious in character. But they are eminently sincere, and they have the great merit of illustrating the local aspects of landscape and temperament and manners.
Authorities. — E. G. Palmén, L'Œuvre demi-séculaire de la Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1831-81 (Helsingfors, 1882); J. Krohn, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden waiheet (Helsingfors, 1897);
F. W. Pipping, Förteckning öfver böcker på finska språket (Helsingfors, 1856-1857); E. Brausewetter, Finland im Bilde seiner Dichtung und seiner Dichter (Berlin, 1899); C. J. Billson, Popular Poetry of the Finns (London, 1900); V. Vasenius, Öfversigt af Finlands Litteratur-historia för skolor (Helsingfors, 1893). For writers using the Swedish language, see Sweden: Literature. (E. G.)
FINLAY, GEORGE (1799-1875), British historian, was born of Scottish parents at Faversham, Kent, on the 21st of December 1799. He studied for the law in Glasgow, and about 1821 went to Gottingen. He had already begun to feel a deep interest in the Greek struggle for independence, and in 1823 he resolved to visit the country. In November he arrived in Cephalonia, where he was kindly received by Lord Byron. Shortly afterwards he landed at Pyrgos, and during the next fourteen months he improved his knowledge of the language, history and antiquities of the country. Though he formedan unfavourable opinion of the Greek leaders, both civil and military, he by no means lost his enthusiasm for their cause. A severe attack of fever, however, combined with other circumstances, induced him to spend the winter of 1824-1825 and the spring of 1825 in Rome, Naples and Sicily. He then returned to Scotland, and, after spending a summer at Castle Toward, Argyllshire, went to Edinburgh, where he passed his examination in civil law at the university, with a view to being called to the Scottish bar. His enthusiasm, however, carried him back to Greece, where he resided almost uninterruptedly till his death. He took part in the unsuccessful operations of Lord Cochrane and Sir Richard Church for the relief of Athens in 1827. When independence had been secured in 1829 he bought a landed estate in Attica, but all his efforts for the introduction of a better system of agriculture ended in failure, and he devoted himself to the literary work which occupied the rest of his life. His first publications were The Hellenic Kingdom and the Greek Nation (18 36); Essai sur les principles de banque appliques d l'état actual de la Gréce (Athens, 1836); and Remarks on the Topography of Oropia and Diacria, with a map (Athens, 1838). The first instalment of his great historical work appeared in 1844 (end ed., 1857) under the title Greece under the Romans; a Historical View of the Condition of the Greek Nation from the time of its Conquest by the Romans until the Extinction of the Roman Empire in the East. Meanwhile he had been qualifying himself still further by travel as well as by reading; he undertook several tours to various quarters of the Levant; and as the result of one of them he published a volume On the Site of the Holy Sepulchre; 'with a plan of Jerusalem (1847). The History of the Byzantine and Greek Empires from 716-1453 was completed in 1854. It was speedily followed by the History of Greece under the Ottoman and Venetian Domination (1856), and by the History of the Greek Revolution (1861). In weak health, and conscious of failing energy, he spent his last years in revising his history. From 1864 to 1870 he was also correspondent of The Times newspaper, his letters to which attracted considerable attention, and, appearing in the Greek newspapers, exercised a distinct influence on Greek politics. He was a member of several learned societies; and in 1854 he received from the university of Edinburgh the honorary degree of LL.D. He died at Athens on the 26th of January 1875. A new edition of his History, edited by the Rev. H. F. Tozer, was issued by the Oxford Clarendon press in 1877. It includes a brief but extremely interesting fragment of an autobiography of the author, almost the only authority for his lifes As an historian, Finlay had the merit of entering upon a field of research that had been neglected by English writers, Gibbon alone being a partial exception. As a student, he was laborious; as a scholar he was accurate; as a thinker, he was both acute and profound; and in all that he wrote he was unswerving in his loyalty to the principles of constitutional government and to the cause of liberty and justice.
Page:EB1911 - Volume 10.djvu/401
This page needs to be proofread.
FINLAY-FINN MAC COOL