Lars Levi Laestadius: Lappalaisten mytologian katkelmia [Fragments of Lapp mythology]

23 September 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Lappalaisten mytologian katkelmia
[Fragments of Lapp mythology]
Toimittaneet [Edited by]: Juha Pentikäinen ja Risto Pulkkinen
Suomentanut [Translated into Finnish by]: Risto Pulkkinen
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura / the Finnish Literature Society: 400 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-257-2
€ 28, paperback

The Swedish pastor Lars Levi Laestadius (1800–1861) is known as a preacher who criticised the dead dogma of the church and as the founder of Finland’s largest charismatic sect – although Laestadius did not even live in Finland. He was also a journalist who was active in the temperance movement and wrote a great deal of religious literature; Laestadius may be the best-known Sámi of all time. As well as an ecologist and botanist, he was also a philologist with a knowledge of the dialects of the Sámi language, and as an ethnographer Laestadius studied the history of the Sámi, collecting their beliefs into a system he called the Lapps’ mythology. It is only now that this work has been published in its entirety in Finnish. An expedition funded by Louis Philippe, king of France, in 1838–1840, played a decisive part in the birth of the work: Laestadius was appointed guide to the expedition, and a study of Lapp ‘history’ was commissioned from him. Part of the manuscript was long lost, but in 1946 it was discovered in the library of Yale University.
Translated by Hildi Hawkins

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