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The Kalevala

An Epic Poem after Oral Tradition by Elias lönnrot
Translated from the Finnish with introduction and notes by Keith Bosley

October 2008

ISBN: 9780199538867

736 pages

In Stock

Oxford World's Classics

Price: £10.99



The Kalevala, a Finnish epic on the scale of the Iliad and the Odyssey, presents a rare portrait of an ancient people in both peace and at war. It played a central role in the march towards Finnish independence and inspired some of Sibelius's greatest works. This new translation, by a poet and prize-winning translator of Finnish poetry, is a powerful and faithful reflection of a classic of European literature.


an unread masterpiece...The translator, Mr Bosley, is an English poet and knows the Finnish language, accomplishments which few can rival...try this book; you will not be disappointed. - The Spectator

Keith Bosley's Kalevala is a poet's translation, impressive for its stylistic daring, its taste and its scholarly awareness and for the sheer pleasure it gives. The zest and energy of the 22,795 line epic is communicated by the freshness and force of the translator's approach. Not only the poetry itself, but also the long introduction which Mr. Bosley provides convey his enthusiasm and personal enjoyment of the original text... The publication of Mr. Bosley's Kalevala is, I think, a major literary event... More than any previous translation, Mr. Bosley's should establish The Kalevala as part of our common cultural background. - Anthony James, Agenda

Keith Bosley has been able to imitate the weaving repetitions, formulae, parallelisms, imagery, and content, and feels a poetic affinity for the life depicted...The text is now accessible in English: it can be read without a stumble, enjoyed and taken seriously. Not the least feature of this rewarding edition is Keith Bosley's witty and informative introduction. - Herbert Lomas

a valuable addition to the OUP World's Classics Series ... Bosley's version benefits from his deep knowledge of Finnish language and lore and his command of ethnic English, with its colloqualisms, that more than adequately, and often quite brilliantly, conspire to render the feel of the original with amazing fidelity. - Ossia Trilling, Stage & Television Today

The Kalevala is a fabulous narrative spiced with exotic images and much hilarity. - Jennifer Cooke, Melbourne Sunday Herald

Bosley evokes quite powerfully the otherness of the poem's ancient underpinnings. - Geoffrey O'Brien, New York Review of Books

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