Paper Watch: Funny Finns

As part of my ongoing efforts to make sure that no bizarre academic papers go unnoticed, a new find:

Finland is not Europe, Finland is only Finland’. The Function of Funny Finns in Fiction

Janna Kantola

Article first published online: 3 NOV 2010

This article examines the way the Finns as national stereotypes are depicted in recent English-language fiction. In discussing several manifestations of Finns in the history of English literature, the article suggests that the earlier negative stereotype of the Finn as a figure of fun in English-language literature still exists but is transformed and exaggarated ad absurdum in present-day fiction writing, for example Malcolm Bradbury’s To the Hermitage (2000) and John Irving’s Until I Find You (2005). It is further proposed that even though Finns in these novels are depicted in humorous situations and presented as stereotypical figures of fun, as such they serve other than a simply comic function in these novels. Interestingly however, it turns out that the negative stereotype of the Finn – the drinking and fighting Finn – is rarely contradicted in these novels, whereas it is further elaborated and challenged in contemporary Finnish literature


  1. Weeeee, what a quick and easy suotlion.