Eino Leino in 1912
6 July 1878|
|Died||10 January 1926
Eino Leino (6 July 1878 – 10 January 1926) was a Finnish poet and journalist and is considered one of the pioneers of Finnish poetry. His poems combine modern and Finnish folk elements. The style of much of his work is like the Kalevala and folk songs. Nature, love, and despair are frequent themes in Leino's work. He is beloved and widely read in Finland today.
Eino Leino was born as Armas Einar Leopold Lönnbohm in Paltamo and was the seventh and youngest son in a family of ten children. Leino's father had transferred his surname from Mustonen to Lönnbohm to advance in his career. Eino Leino was the youngest of his seven sons. His brother older Kasimir Leino was an important cultural figure in Finland. He was poet, critic and theatre director. Eino and Kasimir Leino founded a literature journal together 1898.
Leino published his first poem at 12 and, by age 18, a collection of poems as well, Maaliskuun lauluja.
Leino's parents died while he was still in school. He started his school in Kajaani and continued in Oulu and Hämeenlinna where he was boarding with relatives. In 1865 Leino graduated from Hämeenlinna Grammar School and started in University in Helsinki.
Early in his career Eino Leino was much loved and praised by the critics. He joined literary and newspaper circles and became a member of the Young Finnish circle. Among Leino's friends were the artist Pekka Halonen and Otto Manninen, who gained fame as a poet and translator.
After the Finnish Civil War, Leino's idealistic faith for national unity collapsed, and his influence as a journalist and polemicist weakened. He was granted a State writer's pension in 1918 at the age of forty. Although publishing prolifically, he had financial problems and his health deteriorated. "Life is always a struggle with eternal forces," Leino said in a letter in 1925 to his friend Bertel Gripenberg.
In addition to writing poetry, Eino Leino wrote in newspapers about theatre and culture in general, and translated works of important writers such as Runeberg and Goethe. He was the first person in Finland to translate Dante's Divine Comedy into Finnish.
Leino was married three times and had one daughter, Helka. He died in 1926 at the age of 47.
Literary style and importance
Leino is held to be the first and most important shaper of national romanticism in Finnish literature. Actually, Leino coined the term national neoromantism by himself to characterize the works by talents of young Finland such as composer Jean Sibelius, painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela and architect Eliel Saarinen.
In middle of his career Leino translated the classics of world literature to Finnish. At the same time he wrote his own works in several genres: poetry, plays, essays, reviews and other pieces of journalism. His work encompasses a wide emotional range, anything from profound love to misanthropy and biting criticism.
In his last years, after struggles in his personal life, Leino returned to the national romantic themes of his youth.
- Nevala, Maria-Liisa. "Leino, Eino (1878 - 1926)". Kansallisbiografia - The National Biography of Finland. Biografiakeskus, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- Liukkonen, Petri. "Eino Leino". Books and Writers (kirjasto.sci.fi). Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015.
- Sjöblom, Tomas. "Eight times state prizewinner". 375 humanists. Helsinki University. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
- Greene R. et al (eds.): The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, p. 489. Princeton University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780691154916.