Saturday, December 20, 2008

When were pulps first mentioned in Finland?

I just bought this book from 1949 for 50 cents. It's a small paperback originally meant for Finnish students of English language. I believe it's the first instance where the pulp magazines are mentioned in Finland, since the introduction to Woolrich mentions him writing for them. (They are not explained in any way, so a Finnish reader with no knowledge of American culture and media is a bit lost. Remember that when Chandler was first translated, a line in which Philip Marlowe mentions pulps it was translated like he meant a magazine on wood industry! The magazines like Seikkailujen Maailma were never called "pulps" here. The "lukemisto" sana that was used doesn't translate in English very well.)

The book also shows clearly that Finnish literacy folks were inclined towards the United States - and English culture in a larger sense - after the war years and the direct influence from Germany (both pre-Nazi and Nazi). Mind you, the first novel-length translations of Hemingway, Faulkner and others came just during the same years after the WWII. The book's selections also show affination for the more proletarian and Leftist writers.

Of the editors, Irma Rantavaara was one of the most important literary researchers in Finland, her career reaching well into the eighties.

I haven't had a chance to read the stories (and probably never will), but I dug out the original publication info where it was possible. Woolrich's story is not criminous.

So here's the publication info:

Seven American Short Stories. With Glossary. Edited by Helvi Hakulinen and Irma Rantavaara. Otava: Helsinki 1949.
Stephen Vincent Benét: Johnny Pye and the Fool-Killer, orig. Saturday Evening Post, May 14 1938
Erskine Caldwell: The Windfall, orig. Story, 1930's?
Clarence Day: Father Tries To Make Mother Like Figures, orig. ?
Albert Maltz: The Happiest Man On Earth, orig. Harper's, June
Dorothy Parker: Too Bad, orig. The Smart Set, July 1923
William Saroyan: A Number of the Poor, orig. ?
Cornell Woolrich: Goodbye, New York, orig. Story, October 1937


Cullen Gallagher said...

Intriguing selection of writers! Were people like Hammett or Chandler available to read in Finland at the time?


Juri said...

In a sense, yes, but actually no. I'll post something about that in a jiffy.