Kalevala kä´lĕvä˝lä [key], Finnish national epic. It is a compilation of verses recounting extraordinary deeds of three semidivine brothers from mythical Kaleva, land of the heroes. Zakarias Topelius published fragments in 1822 Elias Lönnrot gave the cycle its present form, editing the material and sometimes writing transitional verses himself. Lönnrot published the collection of 50 runes (nearly 23,000 lines) in 1849. Its effect on Finnish art in all its branches has been great. The rhythms of the epic had a strong influence on the composer. Jan Sibelius , who used it in a number of works, notably Karelia (1893). The eight-syllable trochaic line of the Kalevala was imitated by Longfellow in Hiawatha.
See tr. by W. F. Kirby (1907, new ed. 1956) and F. P. Magoun (1963).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scandinavian Literature
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-