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Elias Lönnrot

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Lönnrot, Elias (1802–1884), linguist, Finland.

Project Runeberg has published the following works to which this author has contributed:

Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) did a huge task of collecting folk poetry from the remote wildernesses of Karelia, and compiling these to what was to become Finland's national epic, the Kalevala. It was first published in 1835 (now called the Old Kalevala) containing 32 poems with 12,078 lines (sometimes called "verses") and again in 1849 (the New Kalevala) containing 50 poems with 22,795 lines. An abridged version, containing 50 poems but just 9,732 lines, was published in 1862.

The book starts with a creation-myth, then goes on to recount the deeds and adventures of the three protagonists, Väinämöinen the magician and bard, Ilmarinen the smith, and Lemminkäinen the wanton loverboy and warrior, and ends with the introduction of Christianity to Finland. Lönnrot was under the influence of Homeric ideals and tried to forge the poems into a single epic, adding bits and pieces of his own and altering some parts to make them appear a whole, which they however never have been. Nevertheless, its role to the development of Finnish literature, arts and identity can hardly be over-estimated, and having been translated to all major world languages and lots of minor ones, it is no doubt the most important contribution of Finland to world literature. Lönnrot also published a counterpart to Kalevala, the Kanteletar, a collection of ancient lyrical poetry often sung by women. These two books, however, cover but a small part of the recorded Finnish folk poetry. For instance, between 1908-1948 was published a massive, 33-volume book series called Suomen Kansan Vanhoja Runoja, containing altogether 85,000 poems, with well over a million verses.

(Originally from the Nordic FAQ)

Swedish translations of Kalevala are listed in Swedish Wikipedia. Translators include: M. A. Castrén (1841, thus Old Kalevala, digitized), Carl Gustaf Borg ("Kullervo", 1851, "Lemminkäinen", 1852), August Ahlqvist ("De fem första sångerna af Kalevala med svensk ordbok", 1853, "De tio första sångerna", 1862), Karl Collan ("Ilmarinens bröllop", 1857, "Kalevala", 1864-1868, 2:a upplagan 1922), Rafaël Hertzberg ("Kalevala berättad för ungdom", 1875, "Kalevala : fri översättning", 1884), Elsa Dalström ("Kalevala : ny bearbetning för ungdomen", 1902), Olaf Homén (abridged, 1944), Wilhelm Zilliacus ("Kalevala i urval", 1944), and finally Björn Collinder (1948), which can be found online at Litteraturbanken.


Find other Nordic Authors named Lönnrot, others born in 1802 or deceased in 1884.
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Project Runeberg, 2023-08-05 14:47 (aronsson) << Previous Next >>

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