Cover image for Letters from Tove
Title:
Letters from Tove
Uniform Title:
Brev fran Tove Jansson. English
ISBN:
9781517909574

9781517910105
Edition:
First University of Minnesota Press edition.
Physical Description:
496 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
First published in 2014 as Brev fr©Æn Tove Jansson by Schildts & S©œderstr©œms, Helsinki, Finland.
Summary:
"These letters, penned with characteristic insight and wit, provide an almost seamless commentary on Tove Jansson's life within Helsinki's bohemian circles and on her island home. They summon a particular place and time reflected through a mind finely attuned to her culture, her world, and her own nature, drawing a complex, intimate self-portrait of one of the world's most beloved authors"--
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Summary

Summary

A virtual memoir in letters by the beloved creator of the Moomins

Tove Jansson's works, even her famed Moomin books, fairly teem with letters of one kind or another, from messages bobbing in bottles to whole epistolary novels. Fortunately for her countless readers, her life was no different, unfolding as it did in the letters to family, friends, and lovers that make up this volume, a veritable autobiography over the course of six decades--and the only one Jansson ever wrote. And just as letters carry a weight of significance in Jansson's writing, those she wrote throughout her life reflect the gravity of her circumstances, the depth of her thoughts and feelings, and the critical moments of humor, sadness, and grace that mark an artist's days.

These letters, penned with characteristic insight and wit, provide an almost seamless commentary on Jansson's life within Helsinki's bohemian circles and on her island home. Shifting between hope and despair, yearning and happiness, they describe her immersion in art studies and her ascension to fame with the Moomins. They speak frankly of friendship and love, loneliness and solidarity, and also of politics, art, literature, and society. They summon a particular place and time reflected through a mind finely attuned to her culture, her world, and her own nature--all clearly put into biographical and historical context by the volume's editors, both longtime friends of Tove Jansson--and, in the end, draw a complex, intimate self-portrait of one of the world's most beloved authors.


Author Notes

Finnish writer, artist, and political cartoonist Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is best known for her books about the Moomins, adventurous, amusing cartoon trolls who had much in common with their bohemian, nature-loving author and, it seems, shared many of her family's traits. She is also the author of eleven novels and short-story collections for adults, including The Summer Book and The True Deceiver .

Boel Westin is professor of literature at Stockholm University and author of the biography Tove Jansson: Life, Words, Art . She is chairman of jury for the world's largest children's literature prize, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Helen Svensson was a literary manager at Schildts Forlag Publishers for thirty years where she was Jansson's last editor.

Sarah Death is a prizewinning literary translator, mainly from Swedish, with some forty translated titles to her name.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This spirited collection of letters by Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson (1914--2001), best known for the "Moomin" children's books and comics, brims with affection, humor, and artistry. Recognizing that for Jansson, letter writing was primarily a way of remaining connected to loved ones, Boel, Jansson's biographer, and Svensson, her last book editor, organize the letters, which go from 1932 to 1988, by correspondent, rather than chronologically. The first letters, written in Jansson's teens, are to her parents as she studies art in Stockholm. Later addressees include her best friend, photographer Eva Konikoff, and several romantic partners, among them her first serious female partner, Vivica Bandler, whom she tells in 1946, "Never in the world have I felt as natural and genuine as I do now!" and her life companion, Tuulikki Pietilä, whom she met in 1956. In one message to the latter, Jansson writes, "Thank you for your letter, which felt like a happy hug." Delightfully, she also sometimes adds illustrations, including of her famous hippo-like creations, the Moomins. Jansson's fans will particularly enjoy discovering which characters had real-life inspirations. However, all readers should find her a delight to spend time with. (Mar.)


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 7
"I do so wonder about the future"p. 11
Letters to the Family 1932-1933
"I think about you all the time"p. 23
Letters to the Family 1938-1939
"I am never alone when I talk to you"p. 97
Letters to Eva Konikoff 1941-1967
"I can see the ideas growing like trees straight through you"p. 255
Letters to Atos Wirtanen 1943-1971
"Under the names of Tofslan and Vifslan"p. 277
Letters to Vivica Bandler 1946-1976
"Do we really appreciate how lucky we are ...?"p. 327
Letters to Tuulikki Pietilä 1946-1976
"Dearest Ham"p. 405
Letters to Signe Hammarsten Jansson 1959-1967
"A letter that you burn - please! - is better than talking"p. 421
Letters to Maya Vanni 1957-1983
"So just conceivably another book"p. 471
Letters to Åke Runnquist 1965-1988
Sources/creditsp. 488
Indexp. 489