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19528Review - Kalevala: the Epic Poem of Finland

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  • Jack
    Jun 11, 2012
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    Supposedly 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?

    Tumtitumti tumtitumti

    Tumtitumti tumtitumti

    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

    Tumtitumti 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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