May. 10th, 2011

marshtide: (Too-ticki)
Another image-heavy post, I'm afraid! This became some kind of odd scrapbook business. & Tove Jansson is essentially one of our house-gods, so there was no chance I was ever going to keep this brief.

Written for [personal profile] ar's She's Kind of a Big Deal: Women Worth Knowing About!


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jansson_tove
She's Kind of a Big Deal: Tove Jansson
[Photo: a woman sits at a cluttered desk. She's holding a cigarette and looking at the camera.]


Who she was: Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki in 1914 to parents who were both artists. Her father was a Finland-Swedish sculptor (that is to say, a part of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland) and her mother was a Swedish illustrator.

Read more... )


What she did: Tove was both an artist and a writer, although she's mostly remembered for her Moomin books, which are by this time cultural icons. They're often reported to be about little white trolls who have harmless adventures and are very sweet. This is questionable.

Read more... )


Ways to appreciate her:

Books

Many of Tove Jansson's books are translated to English (and plenty of other languages). All of the Moomin story books are currently in print in the US and the UK, and the three picture books she did in the Moomin world are also in print in the UK, although possibly not the US.

A tiny publishing company called Sort Of Books is releasing her other books right now in the UK, and I gather a buch of them have been re-released in the US at the same time, though I'm not sure exactly which are available there. They've put out new editions of or translated for the first time:

The Summer Book (an old woman and her granddaughter spend a summer on an island together)
A Winter Book (a collection of short stories drawn from various different collections)
Fair Play (my favourite - a depiction of two women growing old together, living and working and travelling. a love story. kind of.)
The True Deceiver (a very tense, terrifying book, which takes place in a little village which is completely snowbound for the winter. A young woman who is seen by the village as an outsider moves into the home of an elderly artist on the edge of town. Full of deception and manipulation - but who is manipulating who?)
Travelling Light (Collection of short stories)

I'm kind of hoping that they'll pick out Sculptor's Daughter for release, which is one of her close-to-autobiographical books about her childhood. It has been published in English, but has been out of print for years; I did manage to find a copy in my local library when I lived in the UK, though!


Art

To see her artwork you need to go to Finland, which isn't something I've managed yet myself! (Even though it's just across the water.) The Tampere Art Museum has a collection of her works.


Associated reading: English

There's very little available in English when it comes to academic texts about Tove Jansson's work, biography, or anything else really.

But here's the one that does exist:

Tove Jansson Rediscovered, edited by Kate McLoughlin and Malin Lindström Brock, published 2007 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, is a collection of papers about many different aspects of Tove Jansson's life and work. The papers aren't of even quality, but many of them are brilliant. The essays cover disciplines from queer studies to art history and beyond.


Associated reading: Swedish

In Swedish there are, conversely, about a million books about Tove Jansson's life and work.

My personal favourites are the books by Boel Westin:

Tove Jansson: ord, bild, liv, published in 2007 by Schildts, is an extensive biography, well-written and full of great information and pictures.

Familjen i dalen: Tove Janssons muminvärld, published in 1988 by Bonnier, is an analysis of Tove's Mumin books.


Links: English

- A virtual gallery with information, art and photographs relating to Tove Jansson

- Information put together in connection with a Moomin 65th anniversary exhibition

- A collection of Tove Jansson's illustrations


tovefotografi008
[Image: A short-haired Tove Jansson looks off to one side of the photographer. She's holding her glasses, one arm of them against her mouth.]
marshtide: (Hell with it)
Today:

sweeping up last autumn's leaves a little bit so that I can sit on the bench outside. Mailing the relevant people about exam help. More ridiculously long posts. Being sat on by a tiny purring blob of cat who wants to be as near my face as possible.

Wondering yet again if I can actually feel OK with eating meat, and knowing the answer, but also knowing that I probably will keep at least a limited amount in my diet because so much vegetarian food isn't gluten free.

Dozing in the sun.

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