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Kalevala, The Land of the Heroes (Kirby translation)

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By: (1802-1884)

Elias Lönnrot's "Kalevala, The Land of the Heroes" is a mesmerizing epic filled with tales of ancient Finnish folklore. The characters are larger than life, with their heroic deeds and powerful magical abilities captivating the reader from start to finish. Lönnrot's translation brilliantly captures the rhythm and cadence of the original Finnish text, immersing readers in a world of gods, demigods, and heroes.

The storytelling is both lyrical and compelling, painting vivid pictures of the natural landscape and spiritual beliefs of the Finnish people. The themes of honor, love, and the struggle between good and evil resonate throughout the entire epic, creating a timeless and universal appeal.

What truly stands out in this translation is the meticulous attention to detail and the dedication to preserving the essence of the original work. Kirby's translation brings the poetic beauty and cultural significance of "Kalevala" to a wider audience, ensuring that these timeless stories continue to be passed down from generation to generation.

Overall, "Kalevala, The Land of the Heroes" is a masterpiece of world literature that deserves a place on every bookshelf. It is a captivating and enriching read that offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Finnish culture and mythology.

Book Description:
The Kalevala is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology. It is regarded as the national epic of Karelia and Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. The Kalevala played an instrumental role in the development of the Finnish national identity, the intensification of Finland's language strife and the growing sense of nationality that ultimately led to Finland's independence from Russia in 1917. The first version of The Kalevala (called The Old Kalevala) was published in 1835. The version most commonly known today was first published in 1849 and consists of 22,795 verses, divided into fifty songs. The title can be interpreted as "The Land of Kaleva" or "Kalevia." If the rhythm of the poetry sounds familiar to American readers, it is probably because Henry Wadsworth Longfellow borrowed its trochaic tetrameter form for his famous "Song of Hiawatha." Of the five complete translations of the Kalevala into English, it is only the older translations by John Martin Crawford (1888) and William Forsell Kirby (1907) which attempt strictly to follow the original rhythm (Kalevala meter) of the poems. Modern writers influenced by the Kalevala include J. R. R. Tolkien, whose epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy make use of both style and content from the Finnish work.

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