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The Sámi and the Finnish in French travel books: A case study.

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1 The Sámi and the Finnish in French travel books: A case study

2 Aim of the study to reveal the kinds of images of the Finns and the Sámi which were evoked by early French travellers and their travel books to see how these images change and develop in the course of three centuries: the stereotypes of the Finns and the Sámi in France

3 The Finns and Sámi in the history Tacitus: Germania in 98 A.D. –the fennis Olaus Magnus: Historiae de gentibus septentrionalibus in 1555 –the bjarmi and the skrithifinns Johannes Schefferus: Lapponia in 1674 –written to prove that the Swedish army did not use Sámi magic

4 French travel books Jean-François Regnard: Voyage de Laponie in 1731 (Retki Lappiin) Réginald Outhier: Journal d’un voyage au Nord en 1736 & 1737 in 1744 (Matka Pohjan perille 1736–1737) Xavier Marmier: Relation de voyage in 1842 (Pohjoinen maa)

5 Selection criteria one representative book for each century well-known by the contemporary readers placed in the geographically same area translated into Finnish by the same person, Marja Itkonen-Kaila

6 Regnard (1655–1709) nobleman, comedy writer, adventurer in his youth, travelled around Europe the journey in Lapland in the summer of 1681 lasted for approximately a month

7 Voyage de Laponie colourful description focusing mainly on the Sámi based partly on Regnard’s travel diary, partly on Schefferus’s Lapponia found and published after the death of Regnard together with his other travel accounts in 1731 (second edition in 1750)


9 Outhier (1694–1774) priest, scientist, cartographer member of Maupertuis’s scientific expedition sent out to prove the oblate form of the planet by means of triangulation the expedition lasted from April 1736 to September 1737

10 Journal d’un voyage au Nord en 1736 & 1737 precise and detailed description: the focus shifts to the Finns based on Outhier’s travel diary was published in 1744 in Paris (reprint in 1746 in Amsterdam)


12 Marmier (1808–1892) writer, professor of foreign literature, member of Académie française member of Gaimard’s scientific expedition first of the journeys in Finland in the spring of 1838

13 Relation du voyage based on the first expedition in 1838 shows the change: the Sámi in the North, the Finns in the South of Lapland published in the series Voyages de la Commission scientifique du Nord, en Scandinavie, en Laponie, au Spitzberg et aux Feröe pendant les années 1838, 1839 et 1840 in 1842


15 Stereotypes Some definitions and theories In everyday language: –a simplified representation, very often negatively coloured: a negative slant or prejudice

16 Walter Lippman and cultural stereotype: –Public Opinion in 1922: first definition of the stereotype the stereotypes are images in our heads, with the help of which we simplify the reality surrounding us –necessary, even indispensable for understanding the society and for coping with the stream of information and sensations: not merely pejorative expressions

17 Stereotypes in social sciences: –two views: rigid and fixed images which are usually pejorative a clutch of beliefs, a collective representation –the latter view is gradually gaining more ground among social scientists

18 Hilary Putnam and linguistic stereotype: –a simplified representation which is conventionally associated with a certain word in a certain culture and which is necessary for a successful communication –may be inexact, but the stereotypes are not necessarily pejorative

19 Stereotypes and image studies Daniel-Henri Pageaux: stereotype or cultural representation? –stereotypes negative and simplistic –division criticized: the study methods and the nature and the function of a cultural representation remain the same as for a stereotype

20 Linguistic theories: M.A.K. Halliday language is seen as a social phenomenon: Our experiences, values, beliefs and commitment to a social community bind us and limit our possibilities in making linguistic choices or interpreting discourses naming: Our lexical choices, the way in which we name those participating in an event or a process, reveal our attitudes and stances on the subject –actor, senser, goal, target, etc.

21 Study material and methods all descriptions of people, livelihood, traditions, etc. categorised according to the characteristics that surface from the text, such as ugliness or excessive use of alcohol analysed by using the methods of critical text linguistics and translation theories

22 Examples from Regnard General features and character of the Sámi: themes from Voyage de Laponie –wildness –greed –lazyness –intelligence –immorality –ugliness –superstitiousness and witchcraft –use of alcohol

23 Appearance: They have a large head, a wide & flat face, a flattened nose, small eyes, a wide mouth, a thick beard which hangs over the stomach. Here, Sir, is the description of this little animal who is called a Lapp, & one can say that, apart from the ape, there is nothing that is more closely reminiscent of man.


25 …and the Finns Themes from Voyage de Laponie –wildness –endurance and persistence –survival without bread –sauna and nudity –use of alcohol

26 Sauna: You would have never believed, Sir, that these extremely savage people have imitated the Romans in their luxury & pleasures. But you will be even more amazed, when I tell you that these same people, who have their own baths like the emperors, do not have bread to eat. Alcohol: [At the funeral,] to honor the deceased, everyone got horribly drunk, & those who could returned to their homes.

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