Juhani Aho (1861 - 1921)
Juhani Aho, originally Johannes Brofeldt, (September 11, 1861; Lapinlahti – August 8, 1921; Helsinki) was a Finnish author and journalist. Aho's literary output is wide-ranging since he pursued different styles as time passed. He started as a realist and his first novel Rautatie (Railroad, 1884), which is considered one of his main works, is from this period. Later he moved towards neoromanticism with novels Panu and Kevät ja takatalvi as well as Juha. The last one is one of his most famous works and has been twice as adapted an opera, by Aare Merikanto and by Leevi Madetoja, and to film four times, most recently in 1999 by Aki Kaurismäki. His novel Yksin (Alone), published in 1890, controversially bold by the standards of Finnish literature in that epoch, is a roman à clef. Its tale of unfulfilled love is the autobiographical novel of Aho's passion for Aino Järnefelt who, at that time, was secretly engaged to Jean Sibelius, whom she would later marry. The initial feelings of anger and jealousy that reading the novel provoked in Sibelius were soon forgotten and, in later life, Aho and Sibelius were close friends as well as neighbours in Järvenpää, where the composer had a villa christened "Ainola" (the Place of Aino). In addition to his novels Aho wrote a number of short stories of distinct style, called "splinters" ("lastuja" in Finnish). Their topics could vary from political allegories to depictions of everyday life. The first and most famous of the short stories is When Father Brought Home the Lamp, depicting the effect of the innovation on people living on countryside. Nowadays the title is a Finnish saying used when something related to new technology is introduced. Aho was one of the founders of Päivälehti, the predecessor of the biggest newspaper in Finland today, Helsingin Sanomat.
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