(redirected from Kalevale)
Also found in: Dictionary.


(kä`lĕvä'lä), 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 LönnrotLönnrot, Elias
, 1802–84, Finnish philologist, compiler of the Kalevala. Although he was trained as a physician, he spent his life, after 1828, traveling through Finland, Lapland, and NW Russia, collecting fragments of the Kalevala from the rune singers.
..... Click the link for more information.
 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 SibeliusSibelius, Jean Julius Christian
, 1865–1957, Finnish composer. Sibelius was a highly personal, romantic composer, yet at the same time he represents the culmination of nationalism in Finnish music. He studied in Berlin (1889) and with Karl Goldmark in Vienna (1890).
..... Click the link for more information.
, 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).



an urban-type settlement and administrative center of Kalevala Raion, Karelian ASSR.

Kalevala is situated on the left bank of Lake Srednee Kuito, 182 km west of the Kem’ railroad station, with which it is linkedby highway. Lumber is the major industry.



Karelian-Finnish national epic composed of epic songs, wedding songs, and incantations. It was compiled into a single narrative by the Finnish scholar E. Lonnrot chiefly from Karelian, Ingrian, and Finnish runes recorded from Arhippa Perttunen and other rune singers of the first half of the 19th century. The first collection, consisting of 32 runes, was published in 1835; it was followed in 1849 by a second collection of 50 runes.

The rune stories that Lonnrot used in the Kalevala dated as far back as the period of tribal society, and the Karelian people’s epic later developed out of the old epic belonging to the Finnish Baltic tribes. Motifs of working songs and realistic descriptions of the people’s everyday life and customs appeared along with fantastic and heroic themes. Enthusiasm for creative work is described with the utmost vividness in the runes. In the ideological and artistic sense the runes of the Kalevala are in no way inferior to the most elaborate epics of other peoples. The 1849 text of the Kalevala has been translated into Russian, English, German, French, Swedish, Japanese, and other languages.


Kalevala: Karelo-finskii epos. [Introductory article by O. V. Kuusinen.] Moscow, 1949.
Karel’skie epicheskie pesni. [Preface, preparation of text, and commentary by V. Ia. Evseev.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Evseev, V. Ia. Istoricheskie osnovy karelo-finskogo eposa, books 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957–60.
Krohn, K. Kalevalan runojen historia. Helsinki, 1903–10.
Krohn, K. Kalevalan kysymyksia. Helsinki, 1918.
Setälä, E. N. Sammon arvoitus. Helsinki, 1932.
Kalevalan runoutta…. Petroskoi, 1949.
Haavio, M. Väinämöinen. Porvoo, 1950.
Kaukonen, V. Vanhan Kalevalan kokoonpano, vols. 1–2. Helsinki, 1939— 45.
Kaukonen, V. Elias Lönnrotin Kalevalan toinen painos. Helsinki, 1956.
Kirjoittamaton kirjallisuns. Helsinki, 1963.
Ruoppila, V. Kalevala ja kansankieli. Helsinki, 1967.
Kalevalaseuran vuosikirja…. Porvoo-Helsinki, 1970.



alliterative epic poem of Finland. [Finn. Lit.: Kalevala]
See: Epic