Abstract

The role that national epic poetry has played in romantic nationalism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is well documented. The role that the new genetics has played in such processes, however, is less well known and understood as a form of writing national narratives of origin. This article compares and contrasts the work of two doctors in Finland, Elias Lönnrot and Reijo Norio, working over a century and a half apart, to examine the ways in which they have contributed to the formation of national identity and unity. The notion of genetic romanticism is introduced as a term to complement the notion of national romanticism that has been used to describe the ways in which nineteenth-century scholars sought to create and deploy common traditions for national-romantic purposes. Unlike national romanticism, however, strategies of genetic romanticism rely on the study of genetic inheritance as a way to unify populations within politically and geographically bounded areas. Thus, new genetics have contributed to the development of genetic romanticisms, whereby populations (human, plant, and animal) can be delineated and mobilized through scientific and medical practices to represent “natural” historico-political entities in comparison to the use of art and literature during the national romantic period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 121-143
Launched on MUSE
2016-07-14
Open Access
No
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