the Kalevala was Re: reviews (but not of MC)

Belben, Philip ( Generation ) Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk
Fri Dec 12 11:07:12 EST 2003


Otter:

> I _did_ read the whole Kalevala in an incredibly irritating
> translation -- it's all in the meter familiar to folk of
> the USofA as that used by Longfellow in _Hiawatha_.

That's the metre of the original.  Longfellow got the idea from a German
translation of the Kalevala.  The metre works well in Finnish, I
understand, but Longfellow couldn't get it to work in English...

> ['This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pine and the hemlock']

Ugh!  That doesn't remotely fit that metre.

> I know there are more recent translations, because
> I bought one, but I haven't read it.  In fact, the state of

I borrowed one from the library.  All in lines of an odd number of
syllables.  Although the translator hadn't aimed for any particular
shape of feet, I kept falling into trochaic tetrameter as I read it, and
then finding I was missing a syllable at the end of the line.  Most
annoying!

Can't remember who the translator was, but I do remember his five-line
summary of the plot from the introduction:

The Sampo gets forged, a rogue screws,
There's a murder, a wedding, the Blues,
   A serf bites the dust,
   The Sampo gets bust,
And Finland receives the Good News.

> I read _The Eight Days of Luke_ and discovered that
> my paperback didn't have the helpful explanatory
> notes at the end.

Nor does my hardback!  Can you elaborate on this?

Philip.


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