The Kalevala (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 14 Jan 1999
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"Lively, true to the spirit of the original. Having taught the course several times, I find this translation to be excellent for our students."--Aili Flint, Columbia University"Thank you for the complimentary copy! It was a difficult decision but in the end I decided to go with Magour's more literal translation for the course. I will, however, consider Bosley's translation for my own work. I especially admire Bosley's Introduction and your choice of Gallen-Kallela's painting for the cover. Thanks again!"--Leslie Taylor, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
From the Back Cover
The national folk epic of Finland is here presented in an English translation that is both scholarly and eminently readable. The lyrical passages and poetic images, the wry humor, the tall-tale extravagance, and the homely realism of the 'Kaevala' come through with extraordinary effectiveness. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The work begins with quite a beautiful creation myth of the earth and heaven; the world, sun, moon, and stars coming into existence through to birds’ eggs in the lap of the water-mother, who is “a lass, an air-girl, a nice nature-daughter.” We learn how vegetation began and the origins of agriculture. When reading it I was often drawn to comparisons with Tolkien in the ‘Silmarillion’.
Later we start to read of the adventures of wanton Lemminkainen and the tales of steady old Vainamoinen, as well as of the smith Ilmarinen, the everlasting craftsman. These are all full of bluster and boasting where ‘one’ becomes ‘a thousand’ within the same stanza. Kalervo and his son Kullervo do not appear until the thirty-first of the book’s fifty sections. The work is full of analogy, symbolism, and plays on words. Having read it once, though, I do not think I would choose to read it all again.
I decided to explore the ‘Kalevala’ because of the many links to the music of Sibelius. But it soon became a frustrating read due to lack of punctuation and the arrangement of the text. Often two sentences are joined together with no punctuation to indicate whether the central idea belongs to the first or the second. For instance: “the wealth grows chilly, the herds/get into a dreadful state/strange to the birds of the air/tiresome to mankind/that the sun will never shine nor/will the moon gleam.” Other editions may be more user-friendly.Read more ›
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent ageless picture of Finnish history and thinking.Published 4 months ago by Lasse Laaksonen
Has not always been easy to find the Kalevala in English. As a non-Finnish speaker I am not in a position to judge its accuracy but translation is readable and fluent. Read morePublished 8 months ago by caledon ian
Seems to be a very good translation of this mighty work that inspired Sibelius so much.Published 16 months ago by MR LINKS
Quite difficult to get in to. I would suggest reading it out loud and without faltering to consider what it says-at least at first. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bee magic