Today marks Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday. She was a free spirited artist, painter, political cartoonist, illustrator and author who defied the conventions of her time. Earlier this year, a postage stamp and a 2-Euro coin depicting Tove Jansson have been released in celebration of her birthday. She is probably best known for creating the Moomins, a beloved children's book series that was translated in over 40 languages. Unsurprisingly, some call her the queen of the Moomins. A current London exhibition [Tales from the Nordic Archipelago] allows a glimpse into her life and shows unseen photographs from her private island in the archipelago of Finland, where she spent over 30 summers. The English translation of a new biography is due later this year. [more inside]
"Childhood, as I knew it, was rife with secrecy and weirdness, with actions that made sense to you but not anybody else. It’s no wonder that I fell in love with Moomin." Alex Ohlin writes about Tove Jansson and Moomin, for The Millions. [more inside]
Tove Jansson's short stories about artistic creation are often chillingly cold. The artists she portrays have become lost in their isolated solitude, their creativity, which shuts other people out. Portraits of such loneliness are drawn in three short stories in the collection Lyssnerskan ('The listener', 1971), 'Ekorren' ('The squirrel'), 'Svart & vitt' ('Black & white') and 'Vargen' ('The wolf’), which probably frightened many readers - particularly those who knew and loved her Moomin books - away from Jansson's work. In their cosmos, warmth is unknown; their landscapes are frozen, just like the people who seek expression for their artistic dreams. [more inside]
Moomins! The Moomins, created in 1945 by artist and writer Tove Jansson in this story, went on to become a series of books beloved by children in the 60s and 70s and then a British TV show in the early 80s. The Moomins’ fame is so all pervading in Finland that they have their own amusement park and museum but they somehow have never gained as much of a foothold in the US. Why are the Moomins so popular? Some of the books are surprisingly philosophical and even dark and some of the characters are downright seditious; the Moomins, for all their humor and love, are often a little bleak. Tove Jansson, who modeled many of her characters on people in her life, was as talented an artist as she was a writer; here, for your delectation, are her illustrations for The Hobbit. Previously on Metafilter.
rest in peace, tove jansson...creator of the moomins. thanks for making childhood a fantastic place to be.