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|Larin-Kyösti (1873-1948) - pseudonym of Karl Gustaf Larson; Kaarlo Kyösti Larson|
Finnish writer, who gained fame with his ballads and humorous folk song alike poems, such as 'Heilani on kuin helluntai,' 'Soitin pillillä' and 'Tuulan tei'. As a poet Larin-Kyösti was ambitious and productive, but he never gained the position Eino Leino had. Betweeen 1897 and 1924, he wrote forty volumes, mostly verse.
Do not ever feel any sorrow, loved one,
Karl Gustaf Larson (Larin-Kyösti) was born in Hämeenlinna, the son of Gustaf Israel Larson, a restaurateur, and Sofia Vilhelmina Skog. His parents were Swedish immigrants but Larin-Kyösti grew up in Finnish surrounding and adopted Finnish for his language. However, in Larin-Kyösti's work is seen the influence of the Swedish poets Bellman – especially in his early poems – and Gustaf Fröding. Later Larin-Kyösti approached Eino Leino in his neo-romanticism. In his childhood Larin-Kyösti's favorite books included Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Alexandre Dumas's Three Musketeers, and selected stories from The One Thousand and One Night.
In 1895 Larin-Kyösti graduated from Hämeenlinna Grammar School; his schoolmates included Eino Leino. He had already started to write poems, and published his first work in the local newspaper Hämeen Sanomat. He studied a few years at the University of Helsinki philology and history. In his writing aspirations Larin-Kyösti was encouraged by the elder poet J.H. Erkko, who became his friend. When Larin-Kyösti's first book, Tän pojan kevätrallatuksia, came out in 1897, he decided to devote himself entirely to writing. Larin-Kyösti's first collection of poems gained success – the edition was sold out in a month.
Larin-Kyösti found subjects for his early collections in the 1890s from his childhood at the City of Hämeenlinna, Häme province, and from its villages. In these works he presented himself as a carefree vagabond, a singer of merry springtunes, but later, especially in his long narrative poems, the tone became more serious. In 1906 he went to Italy, and experienced a spiritual crisis, worsened by physical illness which required hospitalization. For a period he spent in an asylum in Florence. Larin-Kyösti's depression was reflected in the collection of poems Vuorivaeltaja (1908) and the symbolist play Ad astra (1906).
During his Sturm und Drang years Larin-Kyösti travelled widely in Carelia and Lapland, producing from his experiences new collections of poems. In his play Ad astra, influenced by Strindberg, the protagonist, Taituri, wavers between love and art, happiness to despair. Other character also change, and the logic of the play follows the logic of a dream. "Välitön laulaja oli Ad astrassa etsiytynyt korkeasti kirjalliselle ja myös ajankohtaiselle vuoritielle, joka sittenkään ei ollut hänen itsenäisin tiensä. Luuttu ja hanuri olivat hänen soittovälineitään, ei suuri urkumusiikki. Niitä hän käytti vaihtelevalla onnella pitkän ikänsä lopulle saakka." (Rafael Koskimies in Suomen kirjallisuus IV, 1965)
Larin-Kyösti's work was inspired by his love for the old world and forms of poetry. Ballaadeja ja muita runoja (1913), which contains also a poem situated in Spain, 'The Last of the Moors,' and Korpinäkyjä I-II (1915, 1917), brought to his lyrics romantic visions, fairies, elfs and the mysticism of ancient times. Among these are 'Filippo Lippi ja Lucrezia Buti,' 'Kuisma ja Helinä,' and 'Korven kosto'. Larin-Kyösti published some 50 works, novels, short stories, poems, song lyrics, music plays as Ulkosaarelaiset (1922), memoirs Juvenilia (1927), and translated into Finnish Gustaf Fröding's and August Strindberg's works. Ulkosaarelaiset was filmed in 1938, but it did not receive good reviews and its film and sound material has been destroyed. During his career Larin-Kyösti became one of the best-known ballad poets. The critic and scholar Rafael Koskimies considered him a collector whose affections are guided by some kind of blind instinct (Koskimies in Suomalaisia kirjailijoita XX vuosisadan alussa, 1927).
Luodogan meren randamill
In 1912 Larin-Kyösti moved to Oulunkylä (now part of Helsinki), where he lived for the rest of his life in a shabby house. He was granted in 1925 a state writer's pension. In the 1920s he travelled in France, Estonia, and Hungary. Larin-Kyösti was a member of Petöfi Association and vice president of the International Mark Twain Society. He died in Oulunkylä on December 2, 1948. He had written in Juvenilia, his book of memoir, that the face of death is gentle, like the face of an old doctor, but the face of life can be hard – like sphinx's face. Larin-Kyösti Association was founded four years later in his birth town Hämeenlinna.
For further reading: Suomalaisia kirjailijoita XX vuosisadan alussa by Rafael Koskimies (1927); Larin Kyösti hämäläiskylien runoilijana by Eino Salokas (1943); Aleksis Kivestä Saima Harmajaan: suomalaisten kirjailijain elämäkertoja, ed. by Albin Ahonen, Martti Haavio, V.I. Mikkonen (1943); Voices from Finland, ed. by Elli Tompuri (1947); Meistä tuli kirjailijoita, ed. by K. Sorjonen & V. Rekola (1947); A History of Finnish Literature by Jaakko Ahokas (1973); Kirjailijain kynänjälkiä, ed. by Juhani Niemi (1976); Suomalaisia kirjailijoita: Jöns Buddesta Hannu Ahoon by Lasse Koskela (1990). See also forewords by Vilho Suomi for the collections Huilu ja kitara (1946), Unta ja elämää (1948), Maassa ja tähdissä (1959)
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