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L. Onerva


L. Onerva (born Hilja Onerva Lehtinen) (1882-1972) wrote mostly poems, but also translated French poetry and wrote novels and short fiction. Her works have been important to both Finnish-language literature and the attitude towards woman writers in Finland.

She was raised by her father after her mother was admitted to a mental hospital when Onerva was still a child. So on after that her father sent her to school in the capital, where she grew up independent. She started to study aesthetics and French literature at the University of Helsinki in 1902.

Onerva married forester Väinö Streng in 1905. The marriage was short-lived and ended in a divorce in 1908. The great love in Onerva’s life was a poet of the Finnish golden age, Eino Leino. They were lovers and later close friends until Leino passed away in 1926. Through Leino, Onerva met composer Leevi Madetoja, whom she married in 1918. The artistic couple shared a passionate mind for work and also for alcohol, a combination which led Onerva to a psychiatric hospital. She had no children.

L. Onerva

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