Kivi, Aleksis

   A Finnish novelist, poet, and dramatist, Kivi is the father of the Finnish novel. Although he wrote only one, Seitsemån veljestå (1870; tr. Seven Brothers, 1929, 1973, 1991), it is the best-known novel in Finnish, and its contents are familiar to virtually all Finns. It has been translated into a number of languages. Kivi is also the originator of drama in the Finnish language, and his plays still have a significant presence on the Finnish stage.
   Kivi was the son of a village tailor and had great difficulties being admitted as a student at Helsinki University. Not a particularly good student, he nevertheless read widely and tried his hand at writing. His comedy Nummisuutarit (1864; tr. The Heath Cobblers, 1993) won a prize and established Kivi as an important man of letters. During the next few years, while living in the home of a woman several years his senior, he displayed a truly amazing level of productivity, writing 12 plays and a considerable amount of highly original poetry. Partly on account of some negative critical response to his novel, Kivi was forced to enter a mental hospital, from which he was discharged a broken man; he died at the home of his brother a few months later.
   Kivi's first play was the tragedy Kullervo (1864; tr. 1993), which takes its subject from the Kålevålå. Kivi stays close to the epic but emphasizes Kullervo's inability to control his own nature. When Kullervo, in the manner ofclassical tragedy, takes his life in the end, it is because he is a truly flawed character who is unable to adjust to living with other human beings. Some of Kivi's other dramas are the tragedy Karkurit (1866; Escapees) and the one-act comedy Yo ja paäivaä (1867; Night and Day).
   Seitsemaän veljestaä is not only Kivi's best-known work but an exceptional work even in the context ofworld literature as a whole. The story is about seven orphaned brothers who resist a variety of social constraints, including the demand that they learn to read. Seeking refuge deep in the woods, they survive by fishing and hunting but eventually start farming. Each brother is a distinct individual whose character and personality are revealed by his actions, as Kivi is a quite unobtrusive narrator. The brothers learn many lessons from their struggle for survival and eventually become prepared to go back to civilization. The novel ends with a summary of what becomes of them; all but one end up with families of their own. An immensely rich literary work, Seitsemaän veljestaä can be read on many different levels and from many different perspectives, and this is partly the reason for its enduring power.
   Kivi's poetry was so radically different from what was written by other Finns during his lifetime that it took almost a hundred years before it became fully appreciated. He published only a single volume, Kanervala (1866; Where the Heath Grows), but left many more poems in manuscript.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kivi, Aleksis — ▪ Finnish author pseudonym of  Aleksis Stenvall   born Oct. 10, 1834, Nurmijǎrvi, Russian Finland [now in Finland] died Dec. 31, 1872, Tuusula       father of the Finnish (Finnish literature) novel and drama and the creator of Finland s modern… …   Universalium

  • Kivi, Aleksis — pseud. di Stenvall, Aleksis …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Aleksis Kivi — Earliest known image of Aleksis Kivi. Drawn in 1873 almost certainly by Albert Edelfelt. Born 10 October 1834(1834 10 10) Nurmijärvi, Finland …   Wikipedia

  • Aleksis Kivi — Denkmal in Helsinki …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • KIVI (A.) — Lorsque la Finlande, au sortir de longs siècles de tutelle, accède enfin à une relative indépendance au XIXe siècle, son premier soin est de retrouver sa personnalité: le Kalevala d’Elias Lönnrot la lui révèle; son second souci est de se doter… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Kivi — (Aleksis Stenvall, dit Aleksis) (1834 1872) romancier et auteur dramatique finlandais: les Sept Frères (1870) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Aleksis Kivi — Statue d Aleksis Kivi devant le Théâtre national de Finlande d Helsinki Aleksis Kivi (de son vrai nom Alexis Stenvall) est un écrivain finlandais, né à Nurmijärvi le 10 octobre 1834 et décédé à Tuusula le 31 décembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Aleksis Kivi — Primera imagen conocida de Aleksis Kivi. Dibujado en 1873 por Albert Edelfelt. Aleksis Kivi (pronunciación ▶?/i), nacido como Alexis Stenvall …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kivi — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Aleksis Kivi (1834–1872), finnischer Nationalschriftsteller Antero Kivi (1904–1981), finnischer Leichtathlet Kalju Kivi (* 1951), estnischer Künstler und Animationsfilmer Maarja Kivi (* 1986), estnische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kivi — is a surname, and may refer to:* Aleksis Kivi (1834 1872), Finnish author * Antero Kivi (1904 1981), discus thrower * Maarja Kivi (born 1986), Estonian musicianee also* Kivi Sotamaa (born 1971), Finnish architect * KIVI * Kiwi (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

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