Onerva L

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Onerva L


(pen name of Hilja Onerva Lehtinen, married name Madetoja). Born Apr. 28, 1882, in Helsinki; died there Mar. 1, 1972. Finnish writer.

Onerva studied at the University of Helsinki; she later worked as a schoolteacher and a journalist. In 1904 she published the collection of poetry Dissonances; it was followed by Overthrown Gods (1910), Evening Bells (1912), Distant Spring (1914), Song of the Lamps (1919), and On the Border (1938). Her last collection of poems, Sunset, appeared in 1952. Onerva also wrote prose, including novellas and the novel Mirdja (1908), which reflects her new political awareness during the rise of the democratic movement in Russia.

One of the main themes of Onerva’s lyric poetry is the moral steadfastness of an individual who protests against the dehuman-ization of society and after a difficult struggle overcomes his own pessimism. The lyric collection A Struggle of Souls (1923) and the play The Accusers (1923) are characterized by a withdrawal from individualism and a call to social action.

Onerva was also a literary critic (a work about E. Leino, 1932) and a translator (mainly from French).


Valittuja runoja, vols. 1–2. Helsinki, 1927.
Eino Leino: Runoilija ja ihminen, vols. 1–2. Helsinki, 1932.
Valitut teokset. Helsinki, 1956.
In Russian translation:
[Poems.] In the collection Poeziia Finliandii. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Finnish and Swedish.)


Karkhu, E.G. Ocherki finskoi literatury nachala XX. v. Leningrad, 1972. Suomen kirjallisuus, vol. 4. Helsinki, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.