Kalevala Essay

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When their previously unregarded country suddenly attained world recognition, it was a source of pride for the Finns. Ethnic pride is a useful but potentially dangerous force; there is always the chance that it will be carried too far, mutating into national chauvinism and expansionist zeal. This happened in the 1920s, when a group of Finns nearly sang themselves into war. Finland's political right wing wished to expand the nation's borders to include eastern Karelia, still in Russian territory after the peace of 1920. They combed the Kalevala for metaphors to inspire and justify the dream of a Greater Finland. To them, the stealing back of the Sampo might represent the rescue of Karelia from "foreign" domination. The movement was brief and unsuccessful, but it illustrated the way national mythologies can be twisted into war propaganda. The appeal of the Kalevala endures long after Finland achieved its independence. Finnish...

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This section contains 311 words
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Kalevala from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.