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The Kalevala: An Epic Poem after Oral Tradition by Elias Lönnrot (Oxford… (original 1849; edition 2009)
by Elias Lonnrot (Author)
Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot (Author) (1849)
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Beautiful oral culture and story, and very well translated. Introduced to this via Tolkien. ( )
I think this is one of those books that needs a few reads with a few years between them. It reminds me of the Odyssey quite a bit, and there are some obvious parallels in the story. It's wrong to think of this as a derivative work, though. It may share some style and elements with it, but the Kalevala is uniquely Finnish. If you are the type of person who enjoys this type of work then don't miss out. There's more than enough unique material to keep your attention.
I can't say much with confidence after this first reading, but I will make note of the really interesting spirituality of the book. While there are many vaguely Christian notions (and a few overt ones), there is still an incredibly strong sense of the earlier pagan animism that is beautifully tied up in it. For that aspect alone I think this book is worthy of a lot of attention from those of you who are interested in comparative religion.
It is such a shame that not many people know about this book, as it is truly a hidden treasure.
I came to read the Kalevala because I am a Tolkien fan, and I wanted to get to know what was one of his favorite books and main sources of inspiration.
It is surprisingly easy to read if you have into account that it is an epic poem. I was immersed in this strange and fantastical world, and in the tragedy and poetry that it conveys. From what I saw in this poem, Finish mythology is very different from the other Scandinavian countries, although equally violent and dark.
The story starts with a competition between storytellers. How cool is that?
Hats off to the Portuguese translation, as it is easy to see all the love and dedication that was put into it.
Although I clearly lack the language and culture to fully appreciate this collection of legend (or what have you), I found much of The Kalevala very intriguing. I liked best the exploits of Väinaöinen, as he set about doing...whatever it was he set about doing...but the craftsmanship and courtship of Ilmarinen also held some interest for me. I liked least the beginning (though, that may simply have been because I was coming upon something completely unknown and didn't yet know how to approach it) and the ending (a very bizarre tale that reeked of Christian allegory and which I think suffers from the melding of allusions).
I would like to read other translations. I really would like to read it in the original, but Finnish is somewhat far down on the list of languages I likely will never learn.
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Wikipedia in English (10)
The Kalevala is the great Finnish epic, which like the Iliad and the Odyssey, grew out of a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots.During the first millenium of our era, speakers of Uralic languages (those outside the Indo-European group) who had settled in the Baltic region of Karelia, that straddles the border of eastern Finland and north-west Russia, developed an oral poetry that was to last into the nineteenth century.This poetry provided the basis of the Kalevala. It was assembled in the 1840s by the Finnish scholar Elias Lonnrot, who took `dictation' from the performance of a folk singer, in much the same way as our great collections from the past, from Homeric poems to medieval songs and epics, have probablybeen set down.Published in 1849, it played a central role in the march towards Finnish independence and inspired some of Sibelius's greatest works. This new and exciting translation by poet Keith Bosley, prize-winning translator of the anthology Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic, is the first truly to combine livelinesswith accuracy in a way which reflects the richness of the original.
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