Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to his novels, Frans Eemil Sillanpää (SIHL-ahn-pah) published several volumes of short stories dealing with the topics that preoccupied him throughout his career. These topics include the Finnish Civil War of 1918 and the role of humans as integral parts of nature. He also wrote a number of causeries, which might best be characterized as autobiographical self-examinations. The collections from the 1920’s are considered among the finest in twentieth century Finnish literature, while the short stories from the following decades are less significant. In 1953, Sillanpää produced a series of radio programs devoted to his memoirs, which were expanded and published in three volumes later in the 1950’s, forming the last of his published works.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Frans Eemil Sillanpää belongs primarily to the great epic tradition in Finnish literature that began with Aleksis Kivi (1834-1872), combining a realistic depiction of rural life with a mystical awareness of nature. While Sillanpää’s fiction reflects the influence of the nineteenth century realistic novel, largely unaffected by the currents of modernism, his blend of lyricism with an almost naturalistic emphasis on the power of instinct (prompting comparisons with the British novelist D. H. Lawrence) introduced a new and distinctive voice in Finnish literature. Several of Sillanpää’s novels became international best sellers, and in 1939 he became the first Finnish writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Ahokas, Jaakko. A History of Finnish Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University, Research Center for the Language Sciences, 1973.

Crouse, Timothy. “Past Present.” The Nation, October 1, 1990.

Kinneavy, Gerald. “Sillanpää.” Scandinavica: An International Journal of Scandinavian Studies 20 (November, 1981).

Laitinen, Kai. “F. E. Sillanpää, Life and Sun: The Writer and His Time.” Books from Finland 22, no. 2 (1988).

Paddon, Seija. “The De-Centered Subject in F. E. Sillanpää’s Short Fiction.” Scandinavica: An International Journal of Scandinavian Studies 29 (November, 1990).

Stark, Tuula. “Frans Eemil Sillanpää.” In The Nobel Prize Winners: Literature, edited by Frank N. Magill. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Salem Press, 1987.