Two Smokers in Search of Identity: Comparing the Representations of Tobacco Use in Alastalon salissa and Der Zauberberg

  • Mika Hallila University of Warsaw
Keywords: tobacco, novel, comparative analysis, identity, semiotics


The essay compares the representations of tobacco use in two modernist novels. By analyzing the smoker characters from Volter Kilpi’s Alastalon salissa and Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg the essay considers particular literary representations of tobacco use and, in terms of that, also particular cultural meanings of tobacco. The comparison is between pipe smoking and cigar smoking and the analysis focuses on how they differ in terms of constructing the identities of the fictitious characters. As a result, it is stated that the pipe represents the stability of identity whereas the cigar represents the instability of identity.


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Author Biography

Mika Hallila, University of Warsaw

Mika Hallila is visiting professor of Finnish literature and culture at the University of Warsaw and docent in literary theory at the University of Eastern Finland. The main themes of his research are literary theory, especially theory of the novel, and contemporary novel. Recently, one of his main research interests has been the cultural representations of smoking in Finnish literature. Hallila is the author of the research monograph Metafiktion käsite (The Concept of Metafiction, 2006) and the editor of the large two-volume research anthology of contemporary Finnish literature (Suomen nykykirjallisuus 1–2; Contemporary Finnish Literature 1–2, 2013). His latest publications in the year 2016 are “How the Novel Laughs: Comparing the Theories of Kundera, Bakhtin, and the Young Lukács” (2016) and “Semiotics of Tobacco: the Case of Runeberg’s Pipe” (2016).




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How to Cite
Hallila, M. (2017). Two Smokers in Search of Identity: Comparing the Representations of Tobacco Use in <i>Alastalon salissa</i> and <i>Der Zauberberg</i&gt;. Between, 7(13).