Lönnrot, Elias

Lönnrot, Elias

(ĕlē`äs lön`ro͞ot), 1802–84, Finnish philologist, compiler of the KalevalaKalevala
, 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 Lönnrot gave the cycle its present form, editing the
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. 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. Of these he published in 1835 about 12,000 lines. A second edition of nearly 23,000 lines appeared in 1849. To Lönnrot must go the credit of creating a national epic from the scattered fragments sung or recited.
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Lönnrot, Elias


Born Apr. 9, 1802, in the village of Sammatti; died there Mar. 19, 1884. Finnish folklorist. Son of a rural tailor; studied medicine.

Lönnrot was a professor of Finnish language and literature at the University of Helsinki. In 1827 he defended his dissertation, Väinämöinen, God of the Ancient Finns (written in Latin). He founded the first literary periodical in Finland, Mehiläinen, in 1836. Lö nnrot collected and transcribed epic and lyric runes of the folk singers of eastern Finland and Karelia. These materials formed the basis for his recreation of the Karelian-Finnish epic Kalevala (1st ed., 1835; enlarged 2nd ed., 1849) and the collection of lyric runes Kanteletar (1840–41). He also published the anthologies Finnish Folk Proverbs (1842) and Finnish Folk Riddles (1844) and compiled a Finnish-Swedish dictionary (1866–80).


Flora Fennica. Suomen Kasvisto. Koelma. Helsinki, 1860.


Kaunkonen, V. “Elias Lennrot, velikii uchenyi karelo-finskogo naroda,” Izv. AN SSSR: Otdelenie literatury i iazyka. 1952, vol. 11, issue 5.
Maailman kirjat ja kirjailijat. Edited by T. Anhava. Helsinki, 1957.
Tarkiainen, V., and E. Kauppinen. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden historia, 2nd ed. Helsinki, 1961.
Laitinen, K. Suomen kirjallisuus 1917–1967, 2nd ed. Helsinki, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.