Cosmogony in Vernacular Imagination and Beyond: Textualization of Finnic Origin Myths in the Kalevala

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Elias Lönnrot’s epic the Kalevala opens with a cosmogonical poem, the Song of Creation, describing the origin of the universe and the birth of the hero Väinämöinen. When compiling and editing the source material for the opening of his epic, Lönnrot liberally used transcripts of oral epic poetry, lyric songs and incantations. The article examines Lönnrot’s textualization as an ideologically and aesthetically governed process of literary imagination, and compares it to the vernacular imagination reflected in the oral sources. Vernacular cosmogony and aetiology combined diverse concrete notions and narratives of creation and emergence such as transformation, growth, spatial movement, agency (such as craftsmanship) or parturition. In building his hybrid epic, Lönnrot distorted the vernacular notions of emergence and introduced abstract notions such as nothingness, void, and creation ex nihilo. To solve the irreconcilable tension between vernacular and literary imagination Lönnrot oscillated between abstract and concrete interpretations and invented new myths and deities.
TidskriftArv : tidskrift för nordisk folkminnesforskning
Volym77 (2021)
Sidor (från-till)125-152
Antal sidor28
StatusPublicerad - 2022
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

Bibliografisk information

Open access available in 6/2022


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