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  • One of the great mythic poems of Europe

    New York Times
  • I was immensely attracted by something in the air of the Kalevala

    Tolkien to W.H. Auden in 1955
  • Did so much to bolster early Finnish nationalism on the road to independence

  • The Kalevala , the 19th-century folk epic that crystallised national resistance to Russian rule, was compiled by Elias Lonnrot from ancient runes sung from memory in the eastern forests of Karelia. The Kalevala inspired not only Sibelius but JRR Tolkien, whose Middle Earth and elfin tongue tapped Finnish myths and language


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