An atlas made of tracing paper. Contextual routes to the literary strategy of Anu Kaipainen

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

University of Oulu, Linnanmaa, lecture hall L10

Topic of the dissertation

An atlas made of tracing paper. Contextual routes to the literary strategy of Anu Kaipainen

Doctoral candidate

Licenciate of philosophy Ilmari Leppihalme

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Humanities, Literature

Subject of study



Docent Elina Arminen, University of Eastern Finland


Docent Jussi Ojajärvi, University of Oulu

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An atlas made of tracing paper. Contextual routes to the literary strategy of Anu Kaipainen

The objective of this doctoral thesis is to examine Anu Kaipainen’s literary strategy and to find out what kind of questions she thematises using the strategy. The dissertation seeks methodological and contextual routes to the interpretation of the multiple layers and elements present in her novels. The objective is to create a more holistic ‘map’ of her literary strategy and its functions. Mirroring Kaipainen’s allegory of maps, the articles included in this thesis can also be seen as maps drawn at different stages on tracing paper, placed one on top of the other. This ‘atlas’ made of tracing paper depicts the following issues as thematic condensations and clarifying questions connecting the articles: 1) the positioning of a bourgeois female subject in the upheavals of modern life and 2) the heterology of contexts related to these transitions that represent the increasingly complex nature of social reality and challenges in perceiving it. This thesis contextualises and discusses this dialectic tension between post-modern multiplicity and the positioning of feministic identity politics. 3) the third question synthetises the first two: how and in what direction is this tension taken in Kaipainen’s works? This third theme originates from Kaipainen’s allegory of maps, which is a thematic condensation as such and illustrates her literary strategy. The examination of literary strategy carries reflection towards a research result. The literary strategy of Kaipainen’s works from the 1960s and 1970s – the politics of maps drawn on tracing paper – is found to be the answer to the heterology of contexts and the problems in positioning a female subject. The objective of her cartographic strategy is shown to be her political-pedagogic aim to help a (female) subject to position herself in an increasingly complex, fast-changing and globalising world. Ultimately, the objective of her strategy is to awaken or restore the subject’s social awareness and ability to function. This thesis draws a clearer picture of Kaipainen’s literary strategy and the nature of her earlier works. The result is methodological and refers to the routes found relevant in the study of literary strategy.
Last updated: 1.3.2023