Parties were always particularly important for Tove Jansson’s family. Celebrating was considered important as an opposite to the harsh everyday life. Friends, family and dancing were the ways for escaping the serious reality.
Also in Moomin books, dancing has an important role. Tove used to describe the joy, freedom, togetherness, as well as special events by dancing.
In her doctoral thesis, Vilijonkka ikkunassa – Tove Janssonin Muumiteosten kuva, sana ja liike (2007), researcher Sirke Happonen has studied the dance scenes of the Moomin books, as well as the movement in the pictures and texts.
Tove used to edit the texts and illustrations for the different versions and translations of her books, for example to describe what was current at that time. Happonen presents in her thesis for example the differences between each version of the book Comet in Moominland.
In the first version of the book Kometjakten (1946) Snorkmaiden asks Moomintroll “Kan du dansa swing?” (“Can you dance swing?”) but in the book Mumintrollet på kometjakt (1956) Snorkmaiden asks about Moomintroll’s mambo skills.
The 1951 English translation is about dancing samba and in the Swedish version Kometen kommer (1968) Snorkmaiden asks, “Kan du dansa detdär nya du vet, vaddetnuheter?” (“Can you dance that new you know, whatisitcallednow?”).
Do you remember what Moomintroll answers in each version?
Moomintroll always likes the waltz best.