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Re: [mythsoc] Heaney's Beowulf or someone's Hiawatha?

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    Be it noted that Hiawatha is (approximately, and deliberately) in the meter of the Finnish national epic, _Kalevala_, that was a huge influence on Tolkien s
    Message 1 of 17 , Nov 29, 2003
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      Be it noted that "Hiawatha" is (approximately, and deliberately) in the
      meter of the Finnish national epic, _Kalevala_, that was a huge
      influence on Tolkien's mythology (underlying, _inter alia_, the story
      of Túrin).


      --
      =============================================
      Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
    • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
      Be it noted that Hiawatha is (approximately, and deliberately) in the meter of the Finnish national epic, _Kalevala_, that was a huge influence on Tolkien s
      Message 2 of 17 , Nov 29, 2003
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        Be it noted that "Hiawatha" is (approximately, and deliberately) in the
        meter of the Finnish national epic, _Kalevala_, that was a huge
        influence on Tolkien's mythology (underlying, _inter alia_, the story
        of T?rin). >>

        I knew Hiawatha was a real character, and I guess if I look around I might
        find something else on him besides the poem. The poem was such fun though.
        Maybe I should give it another shot.

        As for Kalevala... not so long ago an edition came out, which I purchased
        and which I've seen recently but I can't put my hands on this week. I did
        actually read it but have forgotten most of it (having only read it once)
        and I didn't realize that there was much of it in print back when. But
        I've heard this Kalevala-Tolkien connection mentioned before. What was so
        new about the recent (1980s?) edition, and what was the popular
        understanding back then?

        I'm sorry my questions are so general. Kalevala should be on the upper
        shelves with Mahabharata, Ramayana and Beowulf, but it's not (I just
        dusted) and I'm not sure where it's gotten off to.

        Lizzie Apgar Triano
        lizziewriter@...
        amor vincit omnia
      • jamcconney@aol.com
        Darn it all--now you ve got me interested too. I guess a trip to the library is in order again. Anne I knew Hiawatha was a real character, and I guess if I
        Message 3 of 17 , Nov 29, 2003
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          Darn it all--now you've got me interested too. I guess a trip to the library
          is in order again.
          Anne


          I knew Hiawatha was a real character, and I guess if I look around I might
          find something else on him besides the poem. The poem was such fun though.
          Maybe I should give it another shot.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
          Darn it all--now you ve got me interested too. I guess a trip to the library is in order again. lol You ll probably beat me to it. I m still slogging
          Message 4 of 17 , Nov 29, 2003
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            Darn it all--now you've got me interested too. I guess a trip to the
            library
            is in order again. >>

            lol You'll probably beat me to it. I'm still slogging through Shippey's
            _Road_ with the plan to reread the first bit and make some notes before I'm
            through. I have Longfellow's poem around here somewhere, and a list of
            things to look up at the library when I do go. And then there's the whole
            Beowulf question. How does anyone ever keep up with their reading? It's a
            much more impossible task than housework, although infinitely more
            enjoyable.

            Lizzie Apgar Triano
            lizziewriter@...
            amor vincit omnia
          • alexeik@aol.com
            In a message dated 11/29/3 6:26:25 PM, Anne wrote:
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 1, 2003
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              In a message dated 11/29/3 6:26:25 PM, Anne wrote:

              <<Actually Hiawatha was a real person and one of the
              instigators of the Iroqouis Federation (Confederation? Convention?) anyway it
              was
              an attempt to unite the various tribes and some historians believe it had
              influence on the writers of the U.S. Constitution.
              >>

              And of course the historical Hiawatha had absolutely nothing to do with the
              character in Longfellow's poem. Longfellow based his story on Ojibwe mythology
              (quite unrelated to anything Iroquois), where the character he referred to as
              "Hiawatha" is actually called Wenabozho. Longfellow liked the Iroquois name
              better, apparently, and arbitrarily substituted it for the original name.
              Alexei
            • David S. Bratman
              ... This meter sounds a lot better in Finnish than it does in English, by the way. ... In that, Longfellow showed good taste. - David Bratman
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 2, 2003
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                At 12:09 PM 11/29/2003 , Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
                >Be it noted that "Hiawatha" is (approximately, and deliberately) in the
                >meter of the Finnish national epic, _Kalevala_, that was a huge
                >influence on Tolkien's mythology (underlying, _inter alia_, the story
                >of Túrin).

                This meter sounds a lot better in Finnish than it does in English, by the way.


                At 10:05 AM 12/1/2003 , alexeik@... wrote:
                >Longfellow based his story on Ojibwe mythology
                >(quite unrelated to anything Iroquois), where the character he referred to as
                >"Hiawatha" is actually called Wenabozho. Longfellow liked the Iroquois name
                >better, apparently, and arbitrarily substituted it for the original name.

                In that, Longfellow showed good taste.

                - David Bratman
              • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                David said a couple of things: 1) This meter sounds a lot better in Finnish than it does in English, by the way. Ooh, and how do we get to listen to it in
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                  David said a couple of things:

                  1) This meter sounds a lot better in Finnish than it does in English, by
                  the way. >>

                  Ooh, and how do we get to listen to it in Finnish? Then again, since I for
                  one can't understand Finnish, is that a silly exercise?


                  At 10:05 AM 12/1/2003 , alexeik@... wrote:
                  >Longfellow based his story on Ojibwe mythology (quite unrelated to
                  anything Iroquois), where the character he referred to as "Hiawatha" is
                  actually called Wenabozho. Longfellow liked the Iroquois name better,
                  apparently, and arbitrarily substituted it for the original name. >>

                  2) In that, Longfellow showed good taste.

                  LOL I have to admit that I like "Hiawatha" better than "Wenabozho", but
                  would one call it good taste or perhaps good judgement of his primarily
                  English-speaking audience? Taste is kind of a tricky concept don't you
                  think?

                  So, let me see. Hiawatha the Iroquois would have been a local figure to
                  me, as a NYer, but I would have to look him up to see if he existed, etc.

                  Wenabozho, who goes with the story we know, was Ojibwe, a nation I've heard
                  of but I'm not sure where to place them geographically.

                  I am wondering lately, in my usual muddy way, whether a Yank interest in
                  things Native American would be a similar thing to the English interest
                  (occasionally) in things Celtic. With all the inaccuracies and
                  subjectivities of both hobbies, still it's like a searching out of the
                  earlier people.

                  Lizzie Apgar Triano
                  lizziewriter@...
                  amor vincit omnia
                • David S. Bratman
                  ... Despite its formidable appearance, Finnish isn t a difficult language to learn to pronounce. With a copy of the Finnish text of the Kalevala, and a
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                    At 06:23 AM 12/3/2003 , Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:

                    >Ooh, and how do we get to listen to it in Finnish? Then again, since I for
                    >one can't understand Finnish, is that a silly exercise?

                    Despite its formidable appearance, Finnish isn't a difficult language to
                    learn to pronounce. With a copy of the Finnish text of the Kalevala, and a
                    Finnish pronunciation guide, both of which could be findable in a good
                    library and probably on the Web, you can read it aloud for yourself.

                    A recording of the whole Kalevala read in Finnish might require some
                    tracking down and might not be worth the trouble for the merely curious,
                    but if you just want an easy way to hear some of it and get some great
                    music into the bargain, may I suggest acquiring a CD of Jean Sibelius's
                    choral-orchestral suite "Kullervo"? I recommend the Naxos recording
                    conducted by Jorma Panula. The booklet has the original text plus translation.

                    Tolkien, who was passionately interested in the sheer sound of language,
                    believed that it was anything but a silly exercise to listen to a language
                    you do not speak. Characters in LOTR frequently hear such languages, and
                    are moved by the sound of them, or find that a meaning comes through even
                    without a knowledge of the words. Tolkien himself discovered his favorite
                    languages through reading their (then unknown to him) words in print.


                    >2) In that, Longfellow showed good taste.
                    >
                    >LOL I have to admit that I like "Hiawatha" better than "Wenabozho", but
                    >would one call it good taste or perhaps good judgement of his primarily
                    >English-speaking audience? Taste is kind of a tricky concept don't you
                    >think?

                    I was being jocular, but a good judgment of the audience is essential to
                    good taste. To write something that might be appropriate for another
                    audience but not for the one you have (I'm thinking of things like
                    off-color humor here) would not be good taste.


                    >So, let me see. Hiawatha the Iroquois would have been a local figure to
                    >me, as a NYer, but I would have to look him up to see if he existed, etc.
                    >
                    >Wenabozho, who goes with the story we know, was Ojibwe, a nation I've heard
                    >of but I'm not sure where to place them geographically.

                    Upper Great Lakes. Usually spelled Ojibwa (which may be why you had
                    trouble turning info up on the Web) and now usually known as the Chippewa.


                    >I am wondering lately, in my usual muddy way, whether a Yank interest in
                    >things Native American would be a similar thing to the English interest
                    >(occasionally) in things Celtic. With all the inaccuracies and
                    >subjectivities of both hobbies, still it's like a searching out of the
                    >earlier people.

                    Why not? I live in a part of the country occupied by numerous small Native
                    tribes in aboriginal days. I like to keep track of whose territory I am in
                    when I travel, and I find that passing from one to another usually marks a
                    vegetative or landscape boundary as well.

                    - David Bratman
                  • alexeik@aol.com
                    In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                      In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:

                      <<A recording of the whole Kalevala read in Finnish might require some
                      tracking down and might not be worth the trouble for the merely curious,
                      but if you just want an easy way to hear some of it and get some great
                      music into the bargain, may I suggest acquiring a CD of Jean Sibelius's
                      choral-orchestral suite "Kullervo"? I recommend the Naxos recording
                      conducted by Jorma Panula. The booklet has the original text plus
                      translation.
                      >>

                      Another fun recording in the same vein is that of the contemporary Finnish
                      composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's oratorio _Sammon ryötsö_ (The Myth of the
                      Sampo), which is a setting for vocal soloists, chorus and electronic sounds of the
                      section of the _Kalevala_ that deals with the three hero-brothers' expedition
                      to Pohjola (Lapland) to obtain the magical object called the Sampo. The music
                      is very expressive and well-suited to its legendary subject, besides giving a
                      good sense of what the verses of the _Kalevala_ sound like in Finnish. It also
                      comes with the original text plus translation.
                      Alexei
                    • Jack
                      greenmanreview.com/book/book_beowulf_criticaledition.html [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      Message 10 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                        greenmanreview.com/book/book_beowulf_criticaledition.html

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • alexeik@aol.com
                        In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                        Message 11 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                          In a message dated 12/3/3 3:36:08 PM, David Bratman wrote:

                          << Ojibwe, a nation I've heard
                          >of but I'm not sure where to place them geographically.

                          Upper Great Lakes. Usually spelled Ojibwa (which may be why you had
                          trouble turning info up on the Web) and now usually known as the Chippewa.
                          >>

                          "Chippewa" is the form most commonly used in the US, while "Ojibway" is the
                          form most commonly used in Canada. Both are approximations of the native form
                          _Ojibwe_. Today it's become fashionable to use the term _Anishinaabe_
                          (literally "normal person"), which can be applied to a number of Algonkian-speaking
                          peoples of the Great Lakes area.
                          Alexei
                        • alexeik@aol.com
                          In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, you wrote:
                          Message 12 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                            In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, you wrote:

                            <<LOL I have to admit that I like "Hiawatha" better than "Wenabozho", but
                            would one call it good taste or perhaps good judgement of his primarily
                            English-speaking audience?>>

                            Certainly "Hiawatha" (especially pronounced the familiar English way: the
                            actual Iroquois pronunciation would be 'hee-ya-watt-ha") sounds far less bizarre
                            to an English-speaking audience than "Wenabozho". Longfellow's choice is
                            perfectly reasonable if one assumes that his audience will never have any further
                            interest in the culture that serves as the background for the story. For anyone
                            who does know something about it, however, the effect is as jarring as, say,
                            arbitrarily giving one of the characters in a Chinese story a Japanese name.
                            Alexei
                          • alexeik@aol.com
                            In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, Lizzie wrote:
                            Message 13 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                              In a message dated 12/3/3 2:36:07 PM, Lizzie wrote:

                              <<I am wondering lately, in my usual muddy way, whether a Yank interest in
                              things Native American would be a similar thing to the English interest
                              (occasionally) in things Celtic. With all the inaccuracies and
                              subjectivities of both hobbies, still it's like a searching out of the
                              earlier people.>>

                              I've been pointing this out for a long time. The relationship is similar in
                              that both involve the cultures of conquered peoples, with most of the terms
                              defined by the conquerors -- who choose precisely which aspects of the conquered
                              cultures are of interest to them, what their significance is, and how they are
                              to be given expression in the dominant culture's art and literature.
                              Alexei
                            • Stolzi@aol.com
                              In a message dated 12/2/2003 10:40:12 PM Central Standard Time, ... In that, Longfellow showed good taste. Well, to YOUR linguistic taste, which is formed by
                              Message 14 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                                In a message dated 12/2/2003 10:40:12 PM Central Standard Time,
                                dbratman@... writes:
                                >"Hiawatha" is actually called Wenabozho. Longfellow liked the Iroquois name
                                >better, apparently, and arbitrarily substituted it for the original name.

                                In that, Longfellow showed good taste.
                                Well, to YOUR linguistic taste, which is formed by neither of the languages
                                under discussion, or, one might grant, for a poem in English. Perhaps
                                "Wenabozho" sounds exquisite in the ears of an Ojibwa, and "Hiawatha" awkward.



                                Diamond Proudbrook


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Stolzi@aol.com
                                In a message dated 12/3/2003 1:10:05 PM Central Standard Time, ... Algonkian-speaking ... How ethnocentric of them Diamond Proudbrook [Non-text portions of
                                Message 15 of 17 , Dec 3, 2003
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                                  In a message dated 12/3/2003 1:10:05 PM Central Standard Time,
                                  alexeik@... writes:


                                  >Today it's become fashionable to use the term _Anishinaabe_
                                  >(literally "normal person"), which can be applied to a number of
                                  Algonkian-speaking
                                  >peoples of the Great Lakes area.


                                  How ethnocentric of them



                                  Diamond Proudbrook


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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