Kalevala Essay

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J. G. Linsen, the Chairman of the Finnish Literary Society, greeted the initial publication of the Kalevala by declaring "Finland can now say to itself: L too, have a history."' It was a poetic, fictionalized history, but it gave Finns something on which to model their expectations of the future. Reaching back to a time before Swedish domination began, the Kalevala depicted an idyllic epoch in Finnish history. The people of Kaleva are autonomous, noble, and prosperous; moreover, they are wiser and more resourceful than the northern enemies who try to destroy them. They have a deep knowledge of their natural environment and an amazing facility with the Finnish language, two things from which nineteenth-century Finnish intellectuals were largely cut off.

Though the Kalevala contains songs about the exploits of great men, Lonnrot deliberarely made it an epic about the daily life of an entire people. It...

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This section contains 364 words
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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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