19528Review - Kalevala: the Epic Poem of Finland
- Jun 11, 2012Supposedly an inspiration for Tolkien's sagas of Middle Earth (the tale of
Turin Turambar.at least), Sibelius and surely also for Longfellow's
Thus spake reckless Lemminkainen
Hast thou seen the tumti tumti?
Yes said ancient Wainamoinen
Long I journeyed for to find it
Dawn to dusk and then another
Then the third day found the tumti
In Wainola's silver forests
There I saw the tumtitumti
It's easy to tease, but still worth a look.
The Finnish names are a bit challenging to the anglophone ear - Wainamoinen,
Lemminkainen Kaukomieli, Kyllikki - but if you can cope with Treebeard's
Orofarne, Lassemista, Carnimirie, you should manage okay. In fact, if you
are familiar with Quenya (the language of Tolkien's High Elves) then the
Finnish will seem strangely familiar.
It's a long, long poem - it must be quite something to be able to recite it
from memory. I'm sure there are still Finns who do, just as Scots learn Tam
O'Shanter off by heart and for much the same reasons.
Kalevala is the Finnish heartland; at the time when the poem was collected
from the oral tradition and translated into English, Finland was a duchy in
the north east of Imperial Russia, and much of the land still lies in Russia
since the ill-fated Winter War of 1940. (You may have missed it with so
much else going on at the time).
Jack Whittaker is a database administrator specialising in SQL Server
technologies and author of the DBAtasks Blog -
<http://DBAtasks.blogspot.com> http://DBAtasks.blogspot.com He is also a
Tolkien addict and is currently re-reading the Silmarillion.
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