Friday 3.11. at 6pm at Arkadia: ‘“The Unknown Soldier” in 2017 – what’s there to know?’ by Julia Pajunen

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Dear friend of Arkadia,

You are invited to ‘“The Unknown Soldier” in 2017 – what’s there to know?’ by Julia Pajunen on Friday 3.11. at 6pm at Arkadia (Nervanderinkatu 11).

Tuntematon sotilas” (“The Unknown Soldier”) by Väinö Linna has been canonized as an official war experience of Finland, even though it is fictional. Since 2000, the film adaptation by Edvin Laine (1955) has been shown on television each year, on the Finnish Independence Day. The latest adaptation, a film by Aku Louhimies, premiers in October.

What happened? This talk provides an understanding of the extraordinary status enjoyed by “The Unknown Soldier” in Finnish culture through examination of the cultural position of the narrative in current society. 

Julia Pajunen (PhD) is researcher at the University of Helsinki. In her PhD thesis, she has researched the adaptation of “The Unknown Soldier” by Kristian Smeds, performed at the Finnish National Theatre in 2007–2009. Currently, she is working in a project on theatre relations between Finland and Estonia.

The talk will be in English.


Warm regards,

A donation of €3 (or more!) to fund the bookshop is suggested and would be most welcome. Arkadia wouldn’t exist without this act of generosity. If you have no loose change or coins we gladly accept payment via Visa Electron or Mastercard etc. !

“The Unknown Soldier” by Väinö Linna is considered to be one of the most important books in Finnish cultural history. The novel, originally published in 1954, was interpreted as a radical, micro-historical narrative of the so-called Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union, told from the perspective of an ordinary soldier who fought in the war. 

When the novel was published, it got mixed reviews and reception. During the following sixty years, more than 800 000 copies of the book were sold, three film versions and several theatre productions were made. “The Unknown Soldier” has gone through a process of becoming the dominant narrative of the Finnish cultural memory of war. 

The novel is available also in English. The latest translation, “Unknown Soldiers” (Penguin Books, 2015) was translated by Liesl Yamaguchi.