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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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


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                    • 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 10 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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