Kalevala Criticism

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Foreign Reception

The Kalevala was translated into several languages soon after its initial publication and was hailed by European scholars as one of the world's great epics. A commentary by German linguist Jacob Grimm (of Grimm's Fairy Tales) had brought the Kalevala international recognition and prepared the way for its positive reception by other critics. Friedrich Max Muller, the influential German-born British philologist, said "The Kalevala possesses merits not dissimilar from those of the Iliad, and will claim its place as the fifth national epic of the world, side by side with the Ionian songs, with the Mahabharata, and Shanameh, and the Nibelunge'' (quoted in Public Opinion, Sept. 15,1888).

Reception in Finland

The majority of Finnish-speaking people knew little of the Kalevala when it was first published. Ironically, many members of Finland's urban intelligentsia first read their national epic in M. A. Castren's 1841 Swedish translation. They greeted the...

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This section contains 963 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Kalevala Study Guide
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Epics for Students
Kalevala from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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