Eino Leino

The Finnish poet Eino Leino was born in Hövelö, Paltaniemi on July 6th, 1878 as the youngest of ten children in Lönnbohm family. His parents were Anders and Anna Emilia Lönnbohm. He lived in Hövelö all through his childhood except two winters in 1885-86 and while he studied in Kajaani, Oulu and Hämeenlinna in 1887-95. He graduated from school in 1895 and signed in the University of Helsinki.  However, he failed an important exam and was left without a state allowance to support his studies. Leino dedicated himself to writing, poetry and culture.

 

Leino’s elder brother Kasimir Lönnbohm (1866 – 1919) introduced him to culture life in Helsinki. In 1896, only 18 years old, Leino published his two first collections of poems. He also got into writing articles and commentaries in newspapers, influenced by national neoromanticism and eager to reform Finnish cultural life. His texts weren’t solely appreciated but the young writer did not let it bother him. Leino and his brother also published a liberal magazine during 1898 and -99. Leino wrote in newspapers and magazines all through his life and was especially a critic who wrote satiric comments about many writers, politicians and highly educated people. He got a lot of publicity around the country.

 

Poetry and novels were the biggest parts of Leino’s production.  Even as a child he used to write poems but they didn’t get any audience before his brother Kasimir found out his skills and encouraged his younger brother to write more.  His first published poem was named Kajaanin linna (“The Castle of Kajaani”); it appeared in a local newspaper in 1890.

In his adulthood, Leino wrote much and published new works one after another, many of which got good reviews and some of which were even praised. Leino also wrote plays and translated a selection of novels and plays into Finnish. All in all, he published 32 poem collections, 25 plays, 25 novels and 16 translations, and even today he is considered as one of Finland’s most significant national poets.

 

Leino was a bohemian and found it hard to engage to anything but writing which was his passion. He was married three times and had one daughter with his first wife Freya Schoultz. In his later years he was in bad physical condition and moved from Helsinki to Tuusula two years before his death which happened on January 10th, 1926.