Browsing by Author "Maijala, Minna"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-1 of 1
  • Maijala, Minna (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2008)
    Under the power of passion. The age of nervousness in Minna Canth s works This research contemplates the psychology of Minna Canth s characters through the historical image of man in late 19th century Europe. The central operative term of the study is passion , understood as a twofold philosophical concept that includes both desire and suffering. The method of this study is historical and contextual. The study interprets the passions and the psychology of Canth s characters as they were understood in their own time. The indicator of the relevant contexts is the realist and naturalist genre of Canth s works. New research on the genre of the time is also the basis of a new kind of psychological approach to Canth s works. The most important context of passion in Canth s works is the positivistic and pathological image of man at the end of the 19th century. Then, passion was widely discussed, and was perceived as a physiological phenomenon that influenced humans neurologically and caused different kinds of physiological symptoms and nervous disorders. But at the same time, passion was understood as a manifestation of human instincts and drives. The naturalistic literature of the day aimed at creating deterministic studies of human morality and psychology following Émile Zola s application of experimental science methods in his writing. The pathological image of man is most explicitly manifested in Canth s formerly unknown short story Lääkäri (Doctor, 1891), in which a doctor who is interested in psychology visits a jail to meet a peculiar criminal, a girl who feels no remorse for her multiple crimes. In other works of Canth the medically motivated viewpoint is more hidden in the deterministic narrative and depiction of the characters. The present study approaches the passion in Minna Canth s works through five thematic chapters, in witch characters are interpreted suffering from blind love, ennui, crippling romantic idealism, melancholy, guilt and nostalgia, and their stories can be prescribed as medical histories which depict the born of the passion and its development towards ruin. All protagonists are also manifestations of their own time. Canth criticises the modern life and its demands as well as social defects through the tragic stories of individuals. The study demonstrates that Canth did not, like previous research has suggested, wait until the 1890s before writing works of a psychological nature but had already written according to the psychological paradigm of her time in Työmiehen vaimo (1885). The social and psychological interests intertwine in Canth s works and are not exclusionary as has formerly been interpreted. Canth is also critical of the medical power implicit in the naturalist experimental method and this shows itself especially in her depiction of working class women.