The Kalevala

28 Mar, 2024 890 Other literatures

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Finnish epic poem that first appeared in print in 1835 in what was then the Grand Duchy of Finland, part of the Russian Empire and until recently part of Sweden. The compiler of this epic was a doctor, Elias Lonnrot (1802-1884), who had travelled the land to hear traditional poems about mythical heroes being sung in Finnish, the language of the peasantry, and writing them down in his own order to create this landmark work. In creating The Kalevala, Lonnrot helped the Finns realise they were a distinct people apart from Sweden and Russia, who deserved their own nation state and who came to demand independence, which they won in 1917.

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  • Riitta Valijarvi No other episodes
    Associate Professor in Finnish and Minority Languages at University College London
  • Thomas Dubois No other episodes
    The Halls-Bascom Professor of Scandinavian Folklore and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Daniel Abondolo No other episodes
    Formerly Reader in Hungarian at University College London

Reading list

  • What is Poetry?
    Nigel Fabb (Cambridge University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Versification: Metrics in Practice
    Satu Grunthal, Kati Kallio and Jarkko Niemi (eds) (Finnish Literature Society, 2021)
  • 'Drastic demographic events triggered the Uralic spread'
    Riho Grunthal et al. (Diachronica, Volume 39, Issue 4, Aug 2022)
  • The Kalevala and the World's Traditional Epics
    Lauri Honko (ed.) (Finnish Literature Society, 2002) Google Books →
  • The Canine Kalevala
    Mauri Kunnas (Otava Publishing, 1992) Google Books →
  • Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic
    Matti Kuusi, et al. (eds.) (Finnish Literature Society, 1977) Google Books →
  • Kalevala: The Epic Poem of Finland
    Elias Lonnrot (trans. John Martin Crawford) (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017) Google Books →
  • Kalevala: The Land of the Heroes
    Elias Lonnrot (trans. W. F. Kirby) (Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd, 2000) Google Books →
  • The Kalevala, or Poems of the Kaleva District
    Elias Lonnrot (trans. Francis Peabody Magoun Jr.) (Harvard University Press, 1963) Google Books →
  • The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People
    Elias Lonnrot (trans. Eino Friberg) (Otava Publishing, 1988) Google Books →
  • The Kalevala: An Epic Poem after Oral Tradition
    Elias Lonnrot (trans. Keith Bosley) (Oxford University Press, 1989) Google Books →
  • An Illustrated Kalevala: Myths and Legends from Finland
    Kirsti Makinen, Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin, Kaarina Brooks (Floris Books, 2020) Google Books →
  • Kalevala: The Graphic Novel
    Sami Makkonen (Ablaze, 2024) Google Books →
  • Kalevala Mythology
    Juha Y. Pentikainen (trans. Ritva Poom) (Indiana University Press, 1999) Google Books →
  • Ilmatar's Inspirations: Nationalism, Globalization and the Changing Soundscapes of Finnish Folk Music
    Tina K. Ramnarine (University of Chicago Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • Alliteration in Culture
    Jonathan Roper (ed.) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) Google Books →
  • Metal Music and the Re-imagining of Masculinity, Place, Race and Nation
    Karl Spracklen (Emerald Publishing, 2020) Google Books →
  • Finnish Folklore: Studia Fennica Folkloristica 9
    Leea Virtanen and Thomas A. DuBois (Finnish Literature Society, 2000) Google Books →

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Programme ID: m001xm8t

Episode page:

Auto-category: 894.541 (Finnish poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1835, the Finnish epic poem The Kallivulla appeared in print in the Grand Duchy of Finland, then in the Russian Empire and, until recently, part of Sweden.