Mika Waltari was born in Helsinki, Finland on September 19, 1908 and later died there on August 26, 1979.
Mika Waltari was the best known prose writer of the 1920s and 30s, an extremely prolific writer who moved with equal ease in all genres, and developed a style of his own, characterized by a spirited irony at his own expense. As a young man he gave expression to the mood of the twenties in the novel The Great Illusion (1928), which earned him something of the position in Finnish literature of a young Hemingway or Scott Fitzgerald. In The Great Illusion he describes the "lost generation" of the WW I and is using the backgrounds of the writers mentioned above.
After the WW II he turned to writing historical novels with The Egyptian (1928), in which he examined the problems in history, his overriding theme being the conflict between idealism and cynical realism. He wrote this great work without ever visiting Egypt. This novel was filmed as a movie years later in Hollywood. He continued writing about the big breaking points in Europe like the religious wars (Michael the Hairyfoot/1948), the destruction of Constantinopoly (John Angelos/1952) and the victory of Christianity (The Enemies of the Humanity I-II/1964). In his works he mentions the most important attributes for mankind are the freedom of an individual, their humanity and their tolerance.
He also was first famous for creating the literature figure of Lieutnant Palmu in a series of crime stories. He was a member of the Finnish Academy. He graduated from the University of Helsinki, where he majored in history and some theology. His academic success probably explains his great interest in historical and philosophical literary works.
(Suomalaisia kirjailijoita/Finnish writers...ed. Risto Rantala/Otava/1994)
The Egyptianby Mika Waltari,1982.
John Angelosby Mika Waltari.
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Urls for Mika Waltari... all in Finnish