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Johan Ludvig Runeberg

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Johan Ludvig Runeberg (Portrait by Albert Edelfelt)

Johan Ludvig Runeberg (February 5 or February 7, 1804May 6, 1877) was a Finland-Swedish poet, and is held to be the national poet of Finland. Runeberg was born in Jakobstad (Pietarsaari) and studied at Åbo Akademi, where he befriended Johan Vilhelm Snellman and Zacharias Topelius.

Many of his poems deal with life in rural Finland. The best known of these is Bonden Paavo[1] (http://www.kantele.com/nwfwebsite/runeberg_martin/runeberg_martin.html), (Farmer Paavo, Saarijärven Paavo in Finnish), about a smallholding peasant farmer in the poor parish of Saarijärvi and his determination and "sisu" (guts) in the face of a harsh climate and years of bad harvests. Each year he mixes double the amount of bark into his bread to stave off starvation.

Runeberg's most famous work is Fänrik Ståls Sägner (The Tales of Ensign Stål, Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat in Finnish) written between 1848 and 1860. It is considered the greatest Finnish epic poem outside the native Kalevala tradition and contains tales of the Finnish War of 1808-09 with Russia. In the war, Sweden ignominiously lost Finland, which became an Arch-Duchy in the Russian empire. The poem, which is composed episodically, emphasizes the common humanity of all sides in the conflict, while principally lauding the heroism of the Finns. The first poem "Vårt land", (Our Land, Maamme in Finnish) became the Finnish National Anthem. Runeberg is celebrated on 5 February each year.

See also

da:Johan Ludvig Runeberg

de:Johan Ludvig Runeberg es:Johan Ludvig Runeberg eo:Johan Ludvig RUNEBERG fi:Johan Ludvig Runeberg sv:Johan Ludvig Runeberg

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