Kalevalan kulttuurihistoria [A cultural history of the Kalevala]

16 March 2009 | Mini reviews

KalevalaKalevalan kulttuurihistoria
[A cultural history of the Kalevala]
Toim. [Ed. by] Piela, Ulla & Knuuttila, Seppo & Laaksonen, Pekka
Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2008. 578 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-007-3
€ 63, hardback

The social and cultural influences exerted by Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala (the versions compiled by Elias Lönnrot were published in 1835, 1849 and 1862), are considerable: a large number of Finnish institutions still use it in their operations and public image. This book, which had its origin in an initiative by the Kalevala Society, takes the reader through Lönnrot’s work as a collector of folk poetry and literary compiler. The authors also discuss the epic’s ideology and its impact on Finnish cultural history. The book has five parts which relate the Kalevala to the arts, with particular reference to the visual arts and music, nationhood, politics, the study of folk poetry, and the parallelism of repetition. There are subjects included which have not previously featured in academic research, such as interpretations of the Kalevala in popular culture.

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