Tove Jansson (1920-2001) was one of the Nordic countries most influential writers and artists of the twentieth century. Her nine novels about Moominvalley and Finn Family Moomintroll belong to the classics of world literature. These novels have sold 15 million copies. Moreover they have been adapted and circulated around the world, from Japan to South Africa. A Moomin Theme Park Metsä was built in 2018 at Hannō, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Yet the novels are only a part of a multifaceted artistic career and life led by Jansson. She was first an illustrator and painter, and writing novels was a side project for her. She was also a cartoonist, a sculptor, and a public intellectual. In addition, her novels and cartoons have been adapted into plays, films, TV series, and an opera over the last five decades. Jansson’s career took shape in Finland’s minority language Swedish and Jansson herself was pulled between cultures, with a Swedish mother and a Finnish father. Jansson’s personal life was deeply entwined with her art. Boel Westin titles her biography of the artist Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words: the Bohemian Jansson’s life intermingled with her art, and her life itself was something of an art work. For example, as an out lesbian in postwar Finland, Jansson’s sexual identity made her an exemplary figure in the loosening of heterosexual hegemony following the sexual revolution of the 1960s. This course studies Jansson’s literary production her other art, with a focus on the Moomin novels and audiovisual adaptations of them. The focus of the course is on family, identity, environmentalism, and power differentials that structure the relationships between humans, their lived environment, and their identities. The course satisfies credit for the Diversity requirement by exploring themes of power asymmetry related to queer sexuality in Jansson’s work and life. In addition, the truly global dissemination offers the opportunity to examine what makes the work travel and how it relates to diversity and cultural difference. The course also studies questions of adaptation related to intermedial nature of Jansson’s work.
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm / MEB 237
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):
Surveys Finnish-Swedish author Tove Jansson's literary production. Focuses on the imagined world Moominvalley depicted in her novels. Offered: W, even years.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
December 10, 2023 - 4:54 pm