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The Kalevala (Oxford World's Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Elias Lönnrot , Keith Bosley
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description


an unread masterpiece...The translator, Mr Bosley, is an English poet and knows the Finnish language, accomplishments which few can rival...try this book; you will not be disappointed. (The Spectator)

Keith Bosley's Kalevala is a poet's translation, impressive for its stylistic daring, its taste and its scholarly awareness and for the sheer pleasure it gives. The zest and energy of the 22,795 line epic is communicated by the freshness and force of the translator's approach. Not only the poetry itself, but also the long introduction which Mr. Bosley provides convey his enthusiasm and personal enjoyment of the original text... The publication of Mr. Bosley's Kalevala is, I think, a major literary event... More than any previous translation, Mr. Bosley's should establish The Kalevala as part of our common cultural background. (Anthony James, Agenda)

Keith Bosley has been able to imitate the weaving repetitions, formulae, parallelisms, imagery, and content, and feels a poetic affinity for the life depicted...The text is now accessible in English: it can be read without a stumble, enjoyed and taken seriously. Not the least feature of this rewarding edition is Keith Bosley's witty and informative introduction. (Herbert Lomas)

a valuable addition to the OUP World's Classics Series ... Bosley's version benefits from his deep knowledge of Finnish language and lore and his command of ethnic English, with its colloqualisms, that more than adequately, and often quite brilliantly, conspire to render the feel of the original with amazing fidelity. (Ossia Trilling, Stage & Television Today)

The Kalevala is a fabulous narrative spiced with exotic images and much hilarity. (Jennifer Cooke, Melbourne Sunday Herald)

Product Description

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 Lönnrot, 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 probably been 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 liveliness with accuracy in a way which reflects the richness of the original.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1051 KB
  • Print Length: 735 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (9 Oct. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #242,282 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Finnish Epic 19 Nov. 2007
The Kalevala is the result of Elias Lönnrot collecting and commiting to paper the oral traditions of the Finnish people to produce an epic tale.
This translation has captured the poetic delivery of the original Finnish as perfectly as these two opposing languages could.
The poetry weaves the tales of Väinämöinen, an old seer and the younger Joukahainen who wishes to challenge him. This angers Väinämöinen who chants him deep into a swamp, a meadow and a heath!! To get himself out of trouble Joukahainen offers the old seer his sister Aino as a bride. Väinämöinen thinking he has been offered a house keeper accepts. Aino is quite taken with being his bride but Väinämöinen has other ideas and heads North to woo the maiden of the North. He can marry her if he forges a Sampo, which is a magical machine that churns out salt, flour and money! He can't do that but he knows a man who can, his good friend Ilmarinen the blacksmith. He has to trick Ilmarinen into going North but he makes the Sampo. Then the marriage requires another task and so the maiden remains unmarried.

Meanwhile, another character Lemminkäinen decides to go North and try his luck winning the maiden. He is given tasks in order to win her hand, capturing the elk of Hiisi and the swan from the river of Tuonela. The latter task nearly kills him and he gives up.

Väinämöinen is now making himself a boat to head back up North but he runs out of spells so he has to go and find Vipunen, a giant who knows all the spells. He gets his spells, finishes his boat and heads North but he is seen by the sister of the blacksmith and the blacksmith rides like the wind on his horse and catches up with him.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Kalevala, no Middle-earth? 26 Feb. 2005
Other reviews highlight many of the Kalevala's intrinsic qualities. This epic should be well-known among Tolkien's fans, too. In his published letters, handily indexed in the paperback edition, may be found statements that amount to this: No Kalevala, no legendarium of Middle-earth! - - or at least, Tolkien's mythology would have been markedly different. He specifically related the Kalevala's story of Kullervo and his own cycle of Turin legends. Old Vainamoinen, the singing wizard, has affinities with Gandalf and Tom Bombadil. The hag Louhi's theft of the sun and moon, which plunges Kaleva-land into darkness, suggests Tolkien's myth of Melkor's destruction of the two Lamps. A more homely example of the importance of things Finnish for Tolkien has to do with his naming one of the persons in The Father Christmas Letters: a bear is named Karhu (which is Finnish for bear, as Bosley states in one of the notes to The Kalevala). And the Finnish language was the chief inspiration for the Elvish language Quenya. Awareness of Tolkien's recognized indebtedness to medieval English and Germanic legends - Beowulf, Siegfried, etc. -- must be supplemented by a good acquaintance with the Kalevala. A superb "Kalevala" for younger readers is Babette Deutsch's Heroes of the Kalevala.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great epics that needs more than a few words 17 Aug. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
brought up with arthur and the Iliad i cam late to finnish mythology but of this great poem i say it stands alongside nay other literature a stirring story and beautiful song
this is a fine modern translation and although the story drags a bit on cantos 27-29 for my liking
over all a fantastic tale that puts its imitator tolkien in the shade
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our national epos 10 Feb. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It has so much meaning for me, We used to watch movies about Kalevala when I was at school and I think every Finn and anyone who would like to know us should read this. How these stories were collected in the first place, the harshness of the life in impossible weather conditions, they are all reasons to read the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 14 Oct. 2014
By V.L.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arrived on time and as described
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