Book Impression – The Kalevala

The Kalevala: An Epic Poem After Oral Tradition by Elias Lönnrot, Translated from the Finnish with an Introduction and Notes by Keith Bosley and a Foreword by Albert B Lord

The Kalevala can be seen in the same light as the Eddas and the Illiad and Odessey as it is an epic collection of Finnish mythology. The translation which I read is part of the Oxford World Classics series and I found it to be very readable and enjoyable.

I did not know much about The Kalevala when I started reading it. Because of this reason I found the introduction and notes very helpful. For me the stories of The Kalevala held a fascination and the wonderful translation by Keith Bosley really brought them to life for me.

The internet also came in very handy when I wanted to hear how the musical instrument called the kantele sounds. I ended up coming across various videos and mp3s and these gave an extra layer of depth to the text when I read them. I also came across this video in which part of the text is sung in Finnish:

The stories of The Kalevala is filled with wonder and magic. The part of The Kalevala which really touched me – as I’m sure it does many other readers – is the resurrection of Lemminkäinen . He is killed and cut into a number of pieces and it is then his mother who searches for the pieces of her dead son and puts them together again.

If you are interested in the different mythologies and folklore of the world, I can highly recommend The Kalevala and then also this translation of the text. There are, however, also translations of the texts which is no longer covered by copyright and can be downloaded and read for free. See the links below. The Finnish text can also be found online.

Lonnrot, E. and K. Bosley. (2008). The Kalevala: An Epic Poem After Oral Tradition by Elias Lönnrot . Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Free translation



Categories: Article, Book review, Folklore and Mythology Fairy Tales

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. I own a copy of this poem, and I have heard the explanation that you have given in your thoughtful post. I like the meter (same as used by Longfellow in The Song of Hiawatha) and some of the imagery. On the other hand, I have also heard that this is a fabricated mythology that does not possess the assumed history of its creation. Since I am not a literary scholar, I don’t know where the truth really lies. Thanks for posting about a poem that isn’t discussed all that much.

    Like

    • Yes, it is fabricated (I’ve read) in that the poems and stories were placed into a specific order to give it an “epic poem” feel like that of the Illiad and that it wasn’t one epic that he collected and wrote down. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lönrott didn’t add a few bits in himself to make it read and flow better. But I must admit that I haven’t studied it enough to know all the details. I’ll have to read up on it some more…
      I wonder if the creation of the Younger Edda (which I know was to serve as a handbook for poets) did not do the same kind of thing where the mythology was put into prose to make it easier to understand and to follow, and I’ve also read that the compiler of the Elder Edda may have added in some bits (like the ending of Völuspá) to make it more palatable to his audience.
      But I guess that is also what makes the mythology so interesting to study (apart from the awesome stories)!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Let Me Tell You the Story of...

A writing blog by H.R.R. Gorman

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

Richard's Blog

A quiet corner to talk about my varied thoughts.

Tammy's Reading/Writing Life

A mother, wife, writer, teacher, coach, book fairy, and runner that has random thoughts about lots of topics!

The Official Blog of Horror and Fantasy Writer Lionel Ray Green

"Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order."

Thoughts of a Bored Writer

My writing. Mostly.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

READER - WRITER - RESOURCES - & MORE

Hersenspinsel

Afrikaanse fiksie deur Carin Marais

irevuo

art. popular since 10,000 BC

Travels With Nano

Sharing the world's delightful sights and bites to inspire your next travel adventure.

KRISTINA STANLEY

Best-selling Author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series

Quiet Water Craft

Official crafty blog for my Quiet Water Craft Etsy shop

Julia's Creative Year

my year of trying to be more creative in different ways

Confessions of a Readaholic

Book Reviews | IAuhor nterviews | EST 2013

Art of Shaima

Fantasy Art and Illustration

Jo-Creates

Knit one, Crochet too, then go make something to eat!

whit::knits

(and crochets, and stitches, and is otherwise generally crafty)

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Flash-365

Oh! Take a shit, read a story. - My Mother on flash fiction

%d bloggers like this: