Rus Articles Journal

Tove Jansson: not only a mummy - trolls? Sources

are on August 9 hundred years since the birth of the famous Finnish writer and the artist Tove Jansson (1914 - 2001). It is known, first of all, as the author who presented to the world of a mummy - trolls. But her creativity far is not limited to it. Tove was extraordinary talented person: artist, illustrator, caricaturist, master of “adult“ small prose. At the same time she always emphasized a huge role of parents in own creative formation and development. Tove Jansson`s

- the person of bright, interesting destiny. She was born in Finland which at that time was a part of the Russian Empire wrote in Swedish and became the Finnish writer who is the most translated in the world - her books about a mummy - trolls are translated more than into thirty languages. At the same time she always considered writing of a hobby, unlike painting in which she saw the true calling.

Jansson`s family belonged to a circle of the shvedoyazychny intellectuals of Finland. Historically it developed that Swedish which still kept the status of the second state language of this country was language of educated part of society, language of fiction and culture. Though today it is considered the native language only by 5,5% of the population.

Tove Jansson grew up in a bohemian family: the father is Victor of Jansson - mother - Signe Hammarshten - the prominent artist and the illustrator was the famous sculptor. Tove since the early childhood began to draw, perhaps, she learned it earlier, than to speak. In a family was three children, and younger brothers of Tove also chose creative professions: Per - Ulof (river of 1920) became a photographer, Lars (1926 - 2000) - the artist and the writer.

The world of art which since the birth surrounded Tove Jansson is perfectly shown in autobiographical short stories from the collection “Daughter of the Sculptor“. The father was for it the first and true artist, Tove grew up among his sculptures. Its work, the creative atmosphere reigning in the house were the highest value. Victor Jansson liked to invite to the house of the friends - artists. In the short story “Junket“ the spirit of those bohemian evenings when by the light of candles and an oil lamp played the Hawaiian guitar and a balalaika is transmitted, ate expensive sausages, bread, cheese, oil, saw Vichy water from which, according to the little heroine, “swells out a stomach, and from it become very sad“. Such “junkets“ proceeded sometimes several days.

The authority of the father on the house was indisputable, and it was necessary to mother sometimes hardly, on her shoulders all cares - not only housekeeping and education of children, but also earning money laid down (as Victor Jansson liking to poshikovat quickly lowered the fees). And she dreamed also of career of the artist … Signe Hammarshten belonged to

to an ancient Swedish sort which left many famous people. She was born and grew up in Sweden, began to work as the art teacher there. Being already adult woman, at the age of 28 years, Signe went to study to Paris where she got acquainted with the young Finnish sculptor. After a wedding young people lived one year in Paris, and then moved to Helsinki.

The house - a workshop in Helsinki where Tove grew up, exerted huge impact on all her further life and creativity. It was very attached to the parental house which left only in 27 years. At the same time Tove relations with the father were difficult: the conservative, the supporter of “traditional values“, Victor Jansson often did not approve vital views of the daughter, a circle of her friends. However when business concerned creativity, the father always remained her chief critic and the judge, she valued his opinion most of all.

The relations with mother were closer and confidential. On her knees Tove also learned to draw. To Signa Hammarshten illustrated books, having become one of the most famous illustrators of Finland of that time, drew caricatures for magazines and stamps. In 28 years of work she managed to draw 170 stamps which were in the use.

Monitoring each its movement, the girl “with mother`s milk“ absorbed also skills of the illustrator. Being still absolutely a child, she began to help mother to draw, and her works were accepted by publishing house. That is Tove Jansson began the professional career approximately at ten-year age. In fourteen years she wrote and illustrated the first book - “Sara and Pele and octopuses Water“.

Parents were very much pleased by progress of the daughter, and in fifteen years she was sent to study in art school in Sweden where she also got an education of the artist (and also for the first time heard the word “mummy-the troll“ from the uncle!) . During study in Stockholm Tove wrote mother: “I think that you understand me better, than someone another“. The attitude towards mother did not change eventually. At the age of 78 years Tove Jansson still spoke, “that always tried to resemble mother, sought to draw always as she“ (Suvi Akhol`s article in the collection of biographies “100 remarkable Finns“, 2004).

Summer vacation became the most important part of the children`s memories which entered the creative world of Tove Jansson. Tove saw off nearly an every summer at the grandmother - on the island near Stockholm: “The fact that the sea was absolutely nearby was finest. And though from a lawn at the house where we played with friends, it it was visible not if suddenly during games we suddenly calmed down, we were reached by noise of a surf“. These impressions formed the basis of the autobiographical story “Summer Book“ in which the girl Sofia spends summer on the far island together with the grandmother who kept despite the age, passion to adventures, sense of humour and the inexhaustible imagination. The niece Tove - Sofia Jansson - told in one of interview during the recent visit to Moscow that “The summer book“, certainly, is written about it and the grandmother (mother Tove Jansson), but in the book also Tove relations with her mother are introduced.

Tove Jansson kept passion to a privacy and “island life“ forever. In 1960 - e years when thanks to success of books about a mummy - trolls, it became one of the richest women of Finland, it even got a small island - to Klovkhar - in the Gulf of Finland where carried out every summer from 1964 to 1992. However life was absolutely deprived of luxury and even usual household conveniences there. It ceased to come here when seventy eight were it already, and at this age it is hard to spend long time in not heated house without water supply system and to independently get to itself livelihood in the sea. Quite so Tove and her close girlfriend Tuulikki Piyetilya spent summer here: put networks, caught fish, and brought fresh water and products on a motorka from “continent“.

Now for Klovkhar it is open for visitors in summer months. In a year of celebration of century since the birth of Tove Jansson there comes the great number of visitors from the different countries here: both members of the media, and just admirers of her creativity. On the island conduct tours, and in a lodge Tove is open an exhibition of her pictures.

The island reminds the rock inhabited by seagulls more. “And on its granite slope the small lodge was seen: a blue window sun blind shone in pink beams of the setting sun. Tove selflessly loved these rocks, a raging sea and shouts of the seagulls soaring over waves. To Klovkhar was for the writer a source from where she derived inspiration for the majority of the books, including, and telling about mummy adventures - trolls“ (from Lyubov Shalygina`s material “The island to Klovkhar - Mecca for Tove Jansson`s fans“, the website of broadcasting company Yleisradio Oy (Finland). News service of Yle. - On July 23, 2014).

Be continued.