The Land of the Heroes

Translated by W.F. Kirby

667 Pages, ISBN 0 485 11258 2     
First published in the Everyman's Library, 1907     
Published by the Athlone Press, 1985     

Kalevala is the great Finnish epic of ancient life in the Far North. It tells how with magic and sword the Northern heroes fought for surival against the powers of darkness. It recounts dangerous journeys over land and sea; the boisterous celebration of weddings and rituals; the hunting of the bear and journeying with the shaman to the Otherworld. Finally, we share the heroes' joy as they celebrate in song and music the taming of the land of Kalevala and its salvation from its enemies.

Kalevala became for the Finns a cornerstone of their struggle for a national culture and identity; and a continuing source of inspiration both in the arts and in national life.

Today, leading poets, artists, composers and film directors make it the subject of their work; this stimulates fast and furious debate in the media. Nor has the Kalevala lost its power to captivate the world at large. in 1983 a Finnish TV film of the adventures of a Kalevala hero won the coveted Prix d'Italia at the Naples Film Festival.

The text is based on W.F. Kirby's translation, still unmatched in communicating the sweep and grandeur of the original. It has a new Introduction and commentary by Dr. M.A. Branch, Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in the University of London. Dr. Branch is the author of several works on Finnish cultural history and Folklore.

(The text above comes from the back of the book)     

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