Which texts? And what kinds of textual moves are we talking about?
Our starting point: we want to explore various aspects of literary history.
We are concerned with the transnational reception of literary texts penned by women. We also discuss other texts, including essays and other modes of writing that skirt the margins of literature.
The moves or movements to which we allude are multiple: the texts we include may have travelled with their authors, preceded their journey, been inspired by the author’s travels, or may even have travelled on their own, without the author ever having actually left home. We look at all these movements in the specific context of cultural exchanges between Finland and Russia.
Relations between Finland and Russia have been studied frequently, but literary exchanges between the two countries are not nearly so well researched. We have adopted a way of seeing that is novel: we begin with women authors and start at the ‘reception end’of the literary process. We ask which texts travelled from Finland to Russia, or vice versa? How did they travel? Why did they? Who chose them? What were the historical and political circumstances that made them interesting? Who brought them safely to their new context? Who read them? How were they received?
We understand the term reception quite broadly. Translation is, of course, key to making reception in new contexts possible, but by no means is it the only consideration. We study how texts were received in the popular press, we look at reviews, articles about authors lives, obituaries and book advertisements, etc. We also examine the presence of texts in libraries and private collections, as well as the question of (inter)textual relations.
Thanks to our engagement with Women Writers in History (a Working Group that forms part of DARIAH-EU, formed in 2017), we are able to study the Finnish-Russian exchange in the broader context of a wider European framework. This is important vis à vis‘our authors,’particularly in relation to transnational and/or multilingual authors. We can, for example, begin here to contextualise the nineteenth century networks of Russian writer, Marie Linder (née Мария Мусина-Пушкина, 1840–1870), an aristocrat who moved to Finland, ‘thought in French,’ wrote in Swedish and was translated into Danish.
These connections and networks come to life in the Virtual Research Environment NewWomenWriters, hosted by Huygens ING in The Netherlands.
We hope you enjoy travelling with us!