The Diary, the Typewriter and Representative Reality in the Genesis of Juha Mannerkorpi's Päivänsinet


  • Veijo Pulkkinen University of Helsinki



Juha Mannerkorpi, diary, genetic criticism, typewriter


This article investigates the transition from keeping a diary to writing a future published work with reference to the genetic process of Päivänsinet: muuan loppukesän merkintöjä (1979) by Finnish author and translator Juha Mannerkorpi. The diary novel is about a seriously ill narrator who watches the growth of a morning glory, meticulously counting, measuring and registering the daily unravelling flowers with the help of a typewriter. In combining genetic criticism with Philippe Lejeune’s ideas on the diary, antifiction and the diary effect, the article analyses the frequent metapoetic remarks upon the use of the typewriter and the relationship between fact and fiction in the context of the diary-writing process and its subsequent rewriting as a novel. Upon close inspection of the manuscripts it becomes clear that the typewriter was not a transparent medium that helped the weak-sighted author to write, but that the physical act of typing influenced the content of Mannerkorpi’s text in many respects. In addition to shedding light on many experimental features of Mannerkorpi’s works, this study on the genesis of Päivänsinet widens current understanding concerning the impact of writing tools on diary-keeping and literary writing.