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Helsinki: A Cultural and Literary History (Cities of the Imagination)by Neil Kent
Synopses & Reviews
Helsinki is one of the world's most northerly capitals, but it is by no means a city frozen in northern wastes. Situated along the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, magnificent lakes and forests reach into Helsinki's urban heart. The Finnish capital offers a spectacular display of architecture and design: from the neoclassical magnificence imposed by a Russian Czar to the modernist chic of Nordic functionalism. Neil Kent explores the history and culture of the "Daughter of the Baltic," a small fishing village that became a powerhouse of design and technology. Through such differing cultural phenomena as saunas, railway stations and tango, he explains why Helsinki is a distinctive mix of tradition and innovation. THE CITY OF ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS: Engel, Czar Alexander I and the creation of an imperial metropolis; Alvar Aaalto and the birth of the modern; functionalism and high-tech innovation. THE CITY OF MUSIC AND THE ARTS: Sibelius, the national composer; conductors and performers; art galleries and installations. THE CITY OF HOSPITALITY: Art Nouveau hotels and cafes; sauna culture; famous visitors and refugees: Lenin and Hitler: multicultural Helsinki and a history of migration.
Book News Annotation:
Sibelius, Finland's national composer, is the main association with Finnish culture for most. Kent, who has taught Nordic culture at the University of Helsinki, provides a tour of Finland's capital that traces its evolution from a Baltic fishing village and Russian imperial city to a multicultural hi-tech and arts center today. The author is affiliated with the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kent explores the history and culture of the "Daughter of the Baltic," a small fishing village that became a powerhouse of design and technology. Illustrations & maps.
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