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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching


Elise Nykänen is an expert in the study of literature and emotions and cognitive and affective narratology. Her research interests include literary modernisms, fictional mind presentation and fictional dialogue. Her monograph Mysterious Minds: The Making of Private and Collective Consciousness in Marja-Liisa Vartio’s novels (based on her dissertation) was published in 2017. Nykänen has also published several articles on her research topics in Finnish and international volumes, journals, and conference proceedings and co-edited the volume Dialogi kaunokirjallisuudessa (Dialogue in Fiction, 2013). Her current post-doctoral project examines existential feelings and moods in character narration and consciousness presentation in Finnish modernist prose fiction.


Nykänen has worked as a Visiting Post-Doctoral Scholar both at the History of Emotions Research Center at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin (2018) and at the Project Narrative Institute at the Ohio State University (2015‒2016) in Columbus. During her PhD studies, she also visited the International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture (GCSC) at Justus Liebig University in Giessen (2013).


Nykänen’s teaching has centered on such topics as Finnish post-war modernism, narrative rhetoric, fictional mind presentation and fictional dialogue. She has also taught basic courses on literary and textual analysis.


Fields of Science

  • 6122 Literature studies

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2008 2018

Mysterious Minds: The Making of Private and Collective Consciousness in Marja-Liisa Vartio's Novels

Nykänen, E., 2017, Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. 332 p. (Studia Fennica Litteraria; no. 10)

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Breaking the Ice, Freezing the Laughter: Authorial Empathy, Reader Response, and the Kafkaesque Poetics of Guilt and Shame

Nykänen, E. K., 2017, Writing Emotions: Theoretical Concepts and Selected Case Studies in Literature. Jandl, I., Knaller, S., Schönfellner, S. & Tockner, G. (eds.). Bielefeld: Transcript verlag, p. 295-310 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientific

Tajunnankuvauksen todenkaltaisuudesta: Näkökulma suomalaiseen sotienjälkeiseen proosaan

Nykänen, E., 2018, In : Joutsen : kotimaisen kirjallisuudentutkimuksen vuosikirja. p. 73-86 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Lentävää koiraa kesyttämässä: lukumalleja Pentti Holapan "Boman"-novellin retorisen vuorovaikutuksen tulkintaan

Nykänen, E., 2018, Kirjoitettu vuorovaikutus. Rahtu, T., S. S. & M. T. V. (eds.). Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, p. 116-142 27 p. (Tietolipas ; no. 260).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Projects 2011 2019

Activities 2007 2019

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

Elise Nykänen (Visiting researcher)
1 Aug 201831 Oct 2018

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities 2018

Elise Nykänen (Speaker: Chair)
2 Jul 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

From Paralyzing Anxiety to Productive Mourning?

Elise Nykänen (Speaker)
13 Jun 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Elise Nykänen (Speaker)
23 Mar 201725 Mar 2017

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Journal)

Elise Nykänen (Reviewer)
2017 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts