Hella Wuolijoki


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Wuolijoki, Hella

 

(pseudonyms, Juhani Tervapaa and Felix Tuli). Born July 22, 1886, in Helme, Estonia; died Feb. 20, 1954, in Helsinki. Finnish writer. Estonian by national origin.

Wuolijoki graduated from Helsinki University in 1908 and joined the Kiila Group. She was a member of the Democratic Union of the People of Finland and a deputy to Parliament in the years 1946-48. Wuolijoki’s first play, Children of the House (1912), the novel Inhabitants of Zatumannyi (parts 1-2, 1914-33), and the plays Koidula (1932) and Burning Land (1936, in Estonian) all dealt with the life of the Estonian people. The social dramas The Minister and the Communist (1932) and Law and Order (1933; published 1948) were Wuolijoki’s first works in Finnish. In a cycle of plays about the inhabitants of the patrimonial estate of Niskavuori— Women of Niskavuori (1936; Russian translation, 1956), Bread of Niskavuori (1938; Russian translation, 1957), Young Housewife of Niskavuori (1940), Heta of Niskavuori (1953), and others—Wuolijoki showed the failure of patriarchal life and the “rocky nests” of the land-owners. Wuolijoki’s other plays include Hulda Yuurakon (1917),Justina (1937; Russian translation, 1959), and Green Gold (1938). In 1943, Wuolijoki was sentenced to death for antifascist activity, but her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; she was set free in 1944. While in jail, Wuolijoki finished two parts of an autobiographical trilogy, Schoolgirl in Tartu (1945) and Student Years in Helsinki (1945); the third part, I Became a Woman of Business, was published in 1953. Wuolijoki’s autobiographical book I Was Not Really Imprisoned (1944) is permeated with faith in the victory of the USSR over fascism and in the democratic forces of Finland.

WORKS

Kummituksiaja kajavia. Helsinki, 1947.

REFERENCE

Laitinen, K. Suomen kirjallisuus 1917-1967. Helsinki [1967].

I. IU. MARTSINA