Abstracts (by session)

Thursday, 30 August, 2018

Keynote 1        

Jason Lavery (Oklahoma State University): Michael Agricola and the Finnish Vernacular Reformation

Session 1a

1. Dalia Marija Stanciene (Klaipeda University): The Reformation and Cultural Modernization of Lithuania

The Reformation is much more than just renovation of Christianity. It is modernization of thinking, modification of traditions, intensive theological inquiry, and construction of new personality. In short, the Reformation means profound transformation of culture to which society has to be prepared.

At the beginning of 16th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was ready to the reception of Martin Luther’s ideas. It was ‘religiously multicultural’. Along with dominant Catholic Church there were Orthodox and Greek Rite churches as well as Jews’ and Karaites’ Synagogues. All of them enjoyed religious freedom.

This religious diversity and freedom made such an impact on the Lithuanian nobility that one of the most influential its representative — Voivode of Vilnius, Grand Lithuanian Chancellor, and Grand Hetman of Lithuania, Mikalojus Radvila The Black — converted to Calvinism and greatly contributed of the spread of Reformation supporting the printing of protestant books, financing a protestant church and college in Vilnius, supporting protestant intellectuals.

One of the most important event was the appearance of the first Lithuanian printed book – Catechism by Martynas Mažvydas, issued in 1547 in Königsberg, for at that time, there lived large Lithuanian population in the Eastern Prussia and Protestants encouraged and supported usage of local languages. This greatly facilitated the spread of their ideas among different nations.  The mentioned book signifies the beginning of the Lithuanian literacy, the beginning of standardization of Lithuanian language, the beginning of national education.

Lithuanian Cultural elite was displeased with the Catholic Church's policy and sought to modernize the management of the State. It looked at the Prussian Principality as a model. Following the suit, the supporters of the Reformation made attempts to modify judicial system, started establishing the gymnasium-type schools and printing houses. In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Reformation as the modernization drive influenced economic reforms and national mentality formation.

2. Miia Kuha (University of Jyväskylä): The Teachers and the Listeners? Cultural Interaction between the Peasantry and the Clergy in Post-Reformation Eastern Finland

The educational role of the sermon was strongly emphasized in 17th century Lutheran Sweden, where the clergy and the parishioners were often referred to as lärare och åhörare, the teachers and the listeners. However, the parishioners — mostly members of the peasant community — did not simply adopt the role of passive listeners. Sometimes they hardly listened at all, but it is also clear that they became familiar with holy texts and the course of the divine service of the Lutheran Church. There is also evidence that they were able to use the texts and rituals of the church in multiple ways in their own rituals and celebrations outside the church. The teachings of the Church were not understood as such, but instead they were intertwined with other ideas in local peasant culture.

In my paper, I analyse court records from the late 17th century, especially focusing on cases with rare examples of how peasants related to and used the sermon and holy texts that they heard from the pulpit. I will also discuss the cultural interaction between the peasantry and the clergy in early modern Eastern Finland in a broader perspective. My research area, the province of Savo, characterized by long distances, slash-and-burn farming as the main livelihood and a distinctive folk culture, was peripheral, but not isolated. The clergymen recruited in the local parishes often came from outside the parish, bringing with them new ideas from Vyborg and other important centres of Lutheranism in the Baltic Sea region. In local communities, the peasantry and the learned engaged in the same cultural practices, which in turn were constructed in interaction with each other.

3. Joonas Tammela (University of Jyväskylä): Local Sermons as a Source for Study of the Construction of Societal Ideas in Swedish Realm, 1790–1820

Session 1b

1. Tapio Salminen (University of Tampere): Daughters Lost and Found: Migration of Finnish Peasant Women to Livonian Cities, ca. 1400–1550

In my paper I will discuss the migration of Finnish peasants to Livonian cities, especially Reval (Tallinn) in the 15th and 16th centuries as evident from the source material. With more than 150 documented emigrants from the province of Nyland in the first half of the 16th century alone, the migration from Finnish areas to urban centres of the Baltic Sea region constituted a major sphere of sociocultural exchange for not only the Swedish speaking coastal regions but also Finnish speaking inland, and was never a marginal phenomenon. As evident from the surviving material, more than half of the emigrants were young women, who never returned home, but kept constant communication with their relatives back in Finland. Together with ongoing contacts in trade the migration contributed to a larger framework for cultural and social interaction characteristic for the late medieval and early modern Baltic Sea area and reformation era Finland. Because of the surviving written communication between various agents of power in the region, it gives interesting information on not only the emigrants themselves, but also on different processes of oral and written communication as well as management of information in the multilingual surroundings of the era.

2. Ilkka Leskelä (University of Helsinki): International Business, Education and Upward Social Mobility: Urban Family Strategies in the Baltic Sea Region, ca. 1400–1550

This paper presents a qualitative and generational analysis of North Baltic family strategies in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It focuses on urban or urbanized individuals and families who operated internationally in business, religion and politics, often relocating into new towns and areas of activity. All of these individuals and their families were successful in their chosen trades, which resulted in upward social mobility within a generation or two.

A factor combining the activities of all the individuals and families is their role in international business and schooling, and even warfare. Success in each can be understood as gathering needed resources and learning the needed skills, both of which can be seen as investments that were believed to bring future profit. For families, a well-planned and executed generation change is also needed, and was seemingly pursued.

This paper discusses how the families (or fathers) sought to invest in the resources and learning, and how the elders sought to influence and guide the next generation. Here the intentional dispersion of the family fortunes, the generalist nature and benefits of the late medieval university schooling, and the transfer of ideas within and between familial networks are brought to the fore.

I suggest that in addition to inherited family fortunes and position, a broad individual skillset, including language skills, and international contacts enhanced the individual/family ability to recognize and seize opportunities when they arose. Moving between the centre and the periphery, and sending youths to study abroad appear as good general strategies even if their benefit and utility in individual cases could not be fully controlled.

3. Anu Lahtinen (University of Helsinki): Constructing Local Genealogies: a Bailiff as an Autodidact Chronicler

4. Ulla Koskinen (University of Tampere): Religious Expressions in Laymen's Correspondence in Finland, 1570–1600

Learned debate and religious writing achieved special significance in the Reformation era. Although Finland was not at the core of the debates, Reformation and its’ political consequences in the late sixteenth century meant profound changes to all the levels of society. How is this reflected in everyday letters people wrote in those decades? My presentation is based on close reading of letters of nobility, burghers, and servants of the state. It seems that even though writers avoid discussing the Reformation and religion as such, their letters contain a rich variety of Christian expressions.

I analyse these religious expressions focusing on three areas: 1) quantity: how common religious vocabulary is, who uses it and how prominent it is in the letter formulae, 2) context: in which circumstances religious vocabulary appears and what kind of a role it has in the communication, and 3) concepts: which religious concepts are used and which Christian and cultural ideals they reproduce.

Session 2

1. Suvi-Päivi Koski: A Significant Book Discovery in Germany — Time to Rewrite the Early History of the Finnish language Hymnbook and Catechism?

2. Sanna Raninen (Uppsala University): Size Matters: Making and Using Music Books in Folio in Post-Reformation Sweden

3. Tuija Laine (University of Helsinki): Missionary Work among the Saami, Orthodox Christians and Native Americans in the 17th Century Sweden

The seventeenth century was a period of absolutism also in the Swedish realm. From the monarchy point of view it was very important to keep the whole realm unanimous. To reach this target f. ex. all the ecclesiastical books were uniformed and besides the Lutheranism all other confessions were prohibited.

There were three types of non-Lutherans in the Swedish Realm that time. In the northern parts there were the Saami, who had their own natural religion, in Karelia there were people who confessed the Orthodoxy and in Delaware region in America there were Native Americans with their own natural worship.

During the absolutism, all the subjects of the Swedish King had to be baptised and they had to confess the Lutheran faith. Before baptism people had to learn Christianity — or the Lutheran faith, if they were already Christians, like the Orthodox Christians. For teaching and learning books, especially Catechisms, were needed. Knowing Christianity was one of the main points in Reformation and it came true through learning to read Catechism.

In my paper, I shall introduce the Catechisms written for these people in Lapland, Karelia and Delaware. In what circumstances they were written, what kind of Catechisms they were and how they were used in this missionary work. The last question is probably the most difficult to answer, because there is not very much information left about this kind of work, but some conclusions can be made from the texts of publications.

Keynote 2

Andrew Pettegree (University of St. Andrews): Transforming the Early Modern Book Market: The Dutch in the Baltic

In the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic became the Bookshop of the World, importing vast numbers of books for sale and re-export, and publishing texts for the continental market. Thus far, exploration of this phenomenon has concentrated on the most flagrant examples: English-language Bibles to spoil the London market, French-language texts that became all the rage in Paris.  But the core of the Dutch export trade lay elsewhere, in the Latin trade, and in their own backyard, east and north. The Dutch exploited their domination of the Baltic trade to create new markets in Denmark and Sweden, and to launch a daring assault on one the best established of the European book markets, in the Holy Roman Empire.  This paper offers the first systematic investigation of the Dutch Baltic trade, based on a priceless rediscovered source: collections of the printed catalogues of auctions held in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Danzig and Hamburg. The Danish book-trade was a precocious adopter of the auction as a mechanism for trading books, generating thousands of pieces of high-grade data that has been analysed using the resources of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. As a collateral benefit, this analysis has also generated many records for books that can no longer be traced in a surviving copy: lost books.  These lost books offer a new insight, not only into these Baltic markets, but into what seventeenth-century buyers of books were actually reading, rather than what our major libraries today have chosen to collect.

Friday, 31 August, 2018

Session 3a

1. Taarna Valtonen (University of Oulu), Kati Kallio (University of Helsinki) & Marko Jouste (University of Oulu): Olaus Sirma: a Saami Poet or a Mediator of the 17th Century Kemi Saami Oral Tradition?

In 1673, the university professor and assessor of the Swedish Antikvitetskollegium Johannes Schefferus published a Latin book Lapponia describing the Saami people and the northern parts of Scandinavia. The book includes two poems recited by Olaus Sirma, a Saami born in Sodankylä (c. 1655), student at the University of Uppsala in 1672–1675, and later a clergyman in Enontekiö. Schefferus published these poems both in Kemi Saami language and in Latin translations. The Latin versions were soon translated further to German, French, English and Dutch. Later, Sirma himself translated the Finnish Catechism into Kemi Saami language, but did not manage to get it published. No other writings from him, and only very little other materials in Kemi Saami language remain.

The character of the poems by Sirma has been disputed: were these poems individual artistic creations or examples of an indigenous folklore genre of this later assimilated Saami group? Was Sirma documenting his own oral tradition, using and modifying it for literary purposes or creating something new? By setting these poems in relation with 1) the 17th century learned poetics in Swedish and Finnish, 2) the coeval ideology of collecting antiquities, 3) the few folklore items left in Kemi Saami language and with 4) what is known of the oral poetics in nearby cultures during later centuries (Saami, Finnish, Karelian, Swedish, Russian), we aim to approach these questions from a comparative perspective.

2. Eeva-Liisa Bastman (University of Helsinki): The Kalevalaic Life of Christ: Epic Form and Devotional Features in Matthias Salamnius’ Ilo-Laulu Jesuxesta

Matthias Salamnius’ Ilo-Laulu Jesuxesta (1690) is an epic poem about the life of Christ, written in the oral metre of Finnish folk poetry, the so called Kalevala-metre. This is the earliest example of a long written epic in Kalevala-metre. In literary criticism, it was quickly canonized and has generally been considered to be a rare example of early modern Finnish literature of the highest standard.

Salamnius’ flawless Kalevala-metre suggests first-hand knowledge of the tradition of oral poetry, while the subject matter and the epic form were highly topical in the written literature of the time all around Europe. Moreover, the poem has didactic qualities, and makes use of the rhetoric of meditative devotional texts.

This paper addresses the question of genre in Salamnius’ poem and examines how the amalgamation of the epic and the devotional is carried out.

3. Janika Oras & Mari Sarv (Estonian Folklore Archives of Estonian Literary Museum): Serfdom and Suppression in Estonian Runo-Songs

Session 3b

1. Gustavs Strenga (Tallinn University): From Undeutsch to Latvians? Ethnicity in Riga Before and During the Reformation

2. Linda Kaljundi (Tallinn University): So Great is Their Hatred against the Germans… Explaining the Rise of Ethnic Antagonism in Late Medieval and Early Modern Eastern Baltic

Most historians tend to agree that the late medieval and early modern Eastern Baltic witnessed the increase of ethnic antagonisms and othering of non-German segments of the local societies. However, different explanations have been offered for explaining the spread of negative literary representations, as well as discriminating social practices. This paper will reflect on various socio-political, as well as religious and cultural explanations, paying special attention to the growing circulation of discursive images and stereotypes, and their potential impact on the literary culture, but also on the social hierarchies of Eastern Baltic and Livonia in particular. It will mainly draw on history and travel writing, but also on some pamphlets and religious texts, analysing these from a comparative perspective and discussing the potential entanglements between the Livonian images of the local non-German peasantry as the internal ‘other’, the increasingly global imagery of otherness, and the peasantry-related tropes circulating in the Reformation literature. While exploring these imageries, the main focus of the analysis will nevertheless remain on the representations of the radical differences and conflicts between the non-German peasantry and the German-speaking parts of the Livonian society. Last but not least the paper will also point out the afterlife of these antagonistic images and narratives, and their extensive appropriation during the later centuries, which has not ceased even today.

3. Stefan Donecker (Austrian Academy of Sciences): “Germans have a Hell of Their Own”: The Multilingual Society of the Damned, according to Baltic Witchcraft Trials

Keynote 3       

Kristiina Ross (Institute of the Estonian Language): ‘Our Songs’ vs. ‘Your Songs’ in the 17th and 18th Century Estonia

In modern times Estonian culture underwent an abrupt transition from traditional oral form to the European cultural sphere. The shift was essentially manifested in the replacement of the old runo songs by syllabic-accented end-rhyme poetry, imported by Lutheran hymns. In Estonia, the whole process is characterized by its distinct colonial flavour. The borderline between the old and new traditions was emphasised, apart from the social and educational inequality of their carriers, by an ethnic difference, as the Lutheran hymns were introduced in Estonian by (mostly) native German pastors. The paper addresses the manifestations of a colonialist background in the Estonian hymn translations of the 17th and 18th centuries and in the translators´ metatexts. The most important feature of the forced cultural transfer is the distinct opposition between the two traditions. This is revealed both in the metatexts and the poetics of the translations, whose authors have not been capable or willing to avail of the prosodic options of local poetics. The strict alternation of the iambic or trochaic accents, based on Martin Opitz’ doctrine, was adhered to by each and every translator since the first versified Hymnal (1656). The principles of translation changed with time, but on the whole all Estonian translations of those centuries remained wooden and German-like. Nevertheless, some translations of different periods display single examples of fluent alliterative doublets and phrases seemingly inspired by the vernacular. This seems indicative of a different tradition of translation, possibly carried by some native Estonians in the 16th century. However, part of the sound repetitions may well be interpreted as an attempt of the translators to imitate the literary devices used in German poetry.

Session 4

1. Kristi Viiding (Under and Tuglas Literature Centre, Estonian Academy of Sciences): Arranging the Early Modern Literary and Book Culture around the Baltic Sea in the Beginning of the 17th Century: the Case of David Hilchen

The writing, reading and collecting of books in the Early modern period comprise a phenomenon that has been researched from different points of view. The private and public book collections, probate inventories of the libraries and diaries give evidence of the intimate and sometimes unsocial attitude to the books. Yet the literary and book culture includes such aspects like preparation, production, ordering or distribution of books, which belonged to the most social activities of the Early modern literati, helping to establish and arrange the social networks and get feedback on their works across regions and confessions. However, the research of this part of the literary and book culture implies the analysis of very different sources, and the pieces of information are often quite fragmentary.

In my paper I will analyse the unpublished Latin correspondence, ca 800 letters, of the most famous Livonian humanist David Hilchen (Heliconius, 1561–1610). The letters were sent to and by him within the period from 1577 to 1610. His correspondents consisted of almost 200 people from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Livonia, Denmark, England, the Netherlands, etc., including such leading humanists as Justus Lipsius, Johannes Caselius, Isaac Casaubon, Joseph Justus Scaliger, etc. Hilchen who was a humanist from the periphery of Europe referred to very various literary practices in his correspondence: to the reading and reception of the published books, ordering of dedications and gratulatory poems for books of others, sending of factual materials about famous persons and contemporary events to humanists in other regions for invention, mediation of opinions and remuneration between patrons and authors, consultations about the appropriate literary genres, etc. Hilchen’s remarks and discussions about the topics demonstrate that, in addition to his local fame as a politician and the author of the Terrestrial Law for Livonia (1599), he must have been considered an important actor in arranging literary and book culture at an international level.

2. Aivar Põldvee (Tallinn University): The Letters of Käsu Hans and the History of Estonian as a Written Language: 

3. Tuomas M. S. Lehtonen (Finnish Literature Society): Catholic Inheritance and Lutheran Networks: The Case of Piae Cantiones collection (1582–1625)

This paper will analyse the communities and networks of learned clergymen and aristocrats who reworked the Catholic legacy and introduced new Lutheran forms and practices. While doing so, they took various stances towards cultural resources at hand, both Latin literary heritage and oral vernacular traditions. The focal point of are the editions of Piae Cantiones (1582, 1625) and its Finnish (1616) and Swedish (1595, c. 1610) translations. The elite network of learned Lutheran clergymen and their aristocratic patrons did not attach itself only to the multilingual literary great tradition; it was also in touch with the local vernacular little tradition.

Here, the focus is on the relationships of the learned and their patrons and their stances toward the appropriation of different elements of their cultural legacy either Latin or vernacular. The emphasis of the study lies on the prints and manuscripts related to Finland. Related networks, however, spread all over the Swedish realm and across the Baltic Sea; their analysis will make visible the routes of cultural change. In addition to literary networks the families and relatives of all of the actors are relevant whether they were noble, clergymen and learned or coastal burghers and wealthy peasants.