Mika Waltari

Mika Waltari Toimi [ mikɑ vɑltɑri ] ( born September 19, 1908 in Helsinki, † August 26, 1979 ibid ) was one of the most successful writers of Finland. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages.


Mika Waltari came in 1908 in Helsinki as the son of Lutheran pastor and teacher Toimi Armas Waltari and his wife Olga Maria Johansson to the world. 1912 the family moved for two years to Mikkeli, where Toimi Waltari wrote several novels and children's books, including the book Unohdettuja (1912 ), which was based on his experiences as a prison chaplain. Shortly after returning to Helsinki Waltari Toimi died at the age of 32 years, when Mika was five years old. He and his two brothers were then brought up by his mother, who worked as a civil servant in the public service, and his two uncles, the theologian Toivo Waltari and engineer Jalo Sihtola. 1926 graduated Mika Waltari at the Helsingin Suomalainen Normaalilyseo and began to wish his mother a degree in theology at the University of Helsinki, but soon turned to the subjects of literature, science and philosophy, where he graduated in 1929.

After that he worked as a journalist, translator and literary critic. In 1925 he published his first literary work. From 1938 he worked as a freelance writer. He wrote poetry, short stories ( A stranger came to the farm) and mystery novels ( Commissioner Palmu ), which he published in part under the pseudonyms Leo Arne Kristian Korppi, Leo Rainio and Mikael Ritvala. From 1957 he was a member of the Finnish Academy. 1970, the honorary degree he was awarded by the University of Turku.

Best known are his historical novels, for which he each operatively an intensive study of the sources. A world success he achieved with Sinuhe the Egyptian, a novel about the eventful life of an Egyptian doctor at the time of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the 1954 film starring Edmund Purdom and Victor Mature.

Waltari's literary style is characterized by a combination of sobriety, melancholy and subtle humor. Characteristic of his works is a seemingly simple, plain language, which decided not to impress the reader with embellishments, and the very fact in their effects may be more effective. Recurring themes are the fatality of human existence and the question of religious knowledge.

In 2008 a major exhibition in honor of Mika Waltari took place in Ateneum, which presented contemporary painters; such as Yrjö Saarinen, Eemu Myntti Mauno Markkula, Aimo Kanerva, etc. that were important representatives of Finnish painting in his time. In October 2000, the Finnish Mika Waltari Society (Finnish: Mika Waltari seura ) was founded in Helsinki, which has the aim to present to the public the life and work of the writer and to promote scientific study of the author. On its website a complete list of works of the author as well as a bibliography of foreign-language translations of his work is available.

The Finnish rock band Waltari named after him, and also the asteroid ( 4266 ) Waltari is named after the writer.

German translations

Almost all the German translations of the novels and stories Waltari, which was granted especially from the 1950s to the 1970s great success in the German book market, not made ​​from the Finnish original, but over bridge languages ​​, usually on the Swedish or English. So rests the German translation of Sinuhe Egyptiläinen ( Sinuhe the Egyptian ) by Charlotte Lilius on the slightly abridged Swedish translation by Ole Torvalds, which was slightly reduced in the transfer to the German again. The novels Karvajalka Mikael (Michael Finn ) and its sequel Mikael Hakim ( The renegade of the Sultan ) were translated by Ernst Doblhofer from English, the English translations are in turn based on the Swedish novels of the transmissions and the novels of translation to translation accept more cuts had. So is reduced by about 40 percent compared to the original Finnish Doblhofers German translation by Mikael Karvajalka. Only in the year 2013, the Kübler Verlag began publishing several historical novels Waltari's first unabridged translation from the Finnish language.

Works (selection)

Historical novels

  • Sinuhe the Egyptian ( Sinuhe Egyptiläinen ), 1945 ( Egypt at the time of Akhenaten )
  • Tower of the Immortal ( tower Kuolematon ), 1955 (Greece, Italy in the 5th century BC, the Etruscans, Lars Porsena )
  • In this sign / In the sign of the Lord ( Valtakunnan salaisuus ), 1959 (Jesus from a Roman perspective )
  • Minutus of the Romans ( Ihmiskunnan viholliset ), 1964 ( Continued from In this sign, Rome in the 1st century AD AD)
  • The Dark Angel ( Johannes Angelos ), 1952 ( siege of Constantinople Opel ( 1453) ) John Peregrinus ( Nuori John ), 1981 ( history of the Dark Angels, published posthumously )

Other works