Säädyllisyyden järjestyksestä isänmaan rakkauteen. Arvid Järnefelt ja kansallinen eetos

From the Order of Respectability to Love for the Fatherland

In his first novel Isänmaa, 'The Fatherland', (1893), Arvid Järnefelt is looking for a place for the individual in an imaginary National community. In this, even the individual's self becomes a problem: it has to be reimagined, made figurative. The book reveals the internal conflict of the Finnish Nationalist Movement: Fennomania aimed at creating a new relationship to society by constructing nationality as the basis of identity. Yet, instead of creating a new ethos it relied on a code of upper-class heroism and honour. The Fatherland does not propose any single, universally applicable answer to the problem of national ethos: rather, it responds to the constructivist policy of the national movement by producing the nation as a narrative. Nationality is real and influential because of the power of its images: they bind together a great number of people unknown to each other and build bridges over differences and inequalities.

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