Volter Kilpi

Volter Kilpi, born Volter Ericsson, (December 12, 1874, Kustavi – June 13, 1939 Turku) was a Finnish author best known for his two-volume novel Alastalon salissa (1933), often considered one of the best written in the Finnish language.[1] Kilpi has been considered an exponent of the modern experimental novel.[2]

Volter Kilpi
Born(1874-12-12)12 December 1874
Kustavi, Finland
Died13 June 1939(1939-06-13) (aged 64)
Turku, Finland

Kilpi grew up in Kustavi, in the western archipelago of Finland and attended a private Finnish-language grammar school in Turku. He studied in Helsinki University, and read a lot during his school and university years. He worked for more than twenty years in at the University of Helsinki Library and other libraries in Helsinki, before moving to Turku where he became first a librarian at that city's municipal library, later the first librarian of Turku's Finnish-language university in November 1920. Kilpi's most important literary work has been written during his years in Turku, near his family roots.[1]

Kilpi wrote his first novel Bathsheba (1900) already as a student.[1] It was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Literature. After the second novel, Antinous (1903) he did not publish anything for almost 20 years. In second phase of his career, during the years of Finland’s declaration of independence and the Civil War, he published two books on political themes. In the third phase of his career, Kilpi returned to fiction. Kilpi’s most famous work Alastalon salissa (In the Parlour at Alastalo, 1933) was the first of the Archipelago trilogy.[3]

Alastalon salissa is a 924-page novel whose time-span covers a mere six hours of an October Thursday in the 1860s and whose setting is the roughly fifty square metres of Alastalo's parlour. The surrounding's are familiar to Kilpi from his childhood, his father was a shipowner, and his relatives had played a key role in the development of Kustavi to an important home port for sail ships.[1]

Volter Kilpi is the older brother of stage and film actor Eero Kilpi.


  1. Assmann, Dietrich. "Kilpi, Volter (1874 - 1939)". The National Biography of Finland. Biografiakeskus, Suomen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  2. "Volter Kilpi". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  3. Sjöblom, Tomas. "Of knights, the Finnish civil war and home". 375 humanists. Helsinki University. Retrieved 27 September 2016.

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