Medievalism in Finland and Russia: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Aspects

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Reima Välimäki
Bloomsbury Academic, Dec 1, 2022 - History - 264 pages
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Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle Ages has returned to debates about history, culture, and politics in Northern and Eastern Europe. This volume explores political medievalism in two language areas that are crucial to understanding global medievalism but are, due to language barriers, often inaccessible to the majority of Western scholars and students.

The importance of Russian medievalism has been acknowledged, but little analysed until now. Medievalism in Finland and Russia offers a selection of chapters by Russian, Finnish and American scholars covering historiography, presidential speeches, participatory online discussions and the neo-pagan revival in Russia. Finland is currently even more poorly understood than Russia in the discussions about global medievalism. It is usually mentioned only as of the birthplace of the Soldiers of Odin. The street patrol is, however, a marginal phenomenon in Finnish medievalism as this volume demonstrates. Instead of merely adopting the medievalist interpretation of the international alt-right, even the right-wing populists in Finland refer more to the nationalistic medievalist tradition, where crusades do not mark a Western Christian victory over the Muslim East, but a Swedish occupation of Finnish lands. In addition to presenting particular cases of medievalism, the chapters here on Finland challenge and diversify today's prevailing interpretation of shared online medievalism of European and American right-wing populists.

This book reveals that while medievalisms in Finland and Russia share many features with the contemporary Anglo-American medievalist imaginations, they also display many original characteristics due to particular political situations and indigenous medievalist traditions. They have their own meta-medievalisms, cumulative core ideas and interpretations about the medieval past that are thoroughly examined here in English for the very first time.

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About the author (2022)

Reima Välimäki is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Turku, Finland. He is the author of Heresy in Late Medieval Germany (2019).

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