The article examines antimodern traits in Volter Kilpi’s (1874–1939) extensive societal and culture-critical pamphlets National Self-Examination (1917) and In Front of the Future (1918), i.e. National Self-Examination II, focusing on the latter work. In the pamphlet, written during the Finnish Civil War, Kilpi presents the problems of modernization, particularly the upheavals caused by industrialization and economic development, the collapse of the traditional religious worldview and new democratic ideologies as threatening the well-being and happiness of society and individuals. The experience of modernity is to a large extent characterized by fragmentation and alienation. In my analysis I show, however, how opposition to modernity, romantic nostalgia towards agrarian life and social thought that emphasizes the importance of tradition combine in Kilpi’s texts, even paradoxically, with progressive ideas. Modernity and (anti)modernism as a reaction to it appear as Janus-faced. In the latter part of the pamphlet In Front of the Future Kilpi ends up envisioning a program of national progress that, apart from antidemocratic ideas concerning the state, largely resembles the reforms carried out in Finland after the civil war. I examine Kilpi’s antimodernism in relation to the historical context of Finland’s gaining of independence and the civil war, in terms of Kilpi’s influences and in relation to international cultural and political currents.
|Translated title of the contribution||Janus-Faced Modernity: Modernity and Tradition in Volter Kilpi's "National Self-Examination" Pamphlets|
|Journal||Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen Aikakauslehti Avain|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Apr 2020|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Fields of Science
- 6122 Literature studies