The Kalevala and the World's Traditional Epics
by Lauri Honko
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the (New) Kalevala, thirty experts on comparative epic research from 12 countries met in Turku, Finland ... Show synopsis On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the (New) Kalevala, thirty experts on comparative epic research from 12 countries met in Turku, Finland in August 1999 to debate the role of the Finnish national epic and its scientific significance. As material for comparison they used textualised epics from Europe and epic traditions, some of them still preserved in oral form, from America, Africa, Central and Southern Asia. A special look was taken at the Baltic-Finnish and Baltic epics, the Kalevala, the Kalevipoeg, the setu Peko and the Lativan Lacplesis, which all share certain ideological strands. The cooperation between fieldworkers documenting living oral epics and textual analysts utilizing old texts and archive sources sets the tone of the articles of this volume, which brings the singer of epics and his/her cultural world closer to the modern editors and publishers of epics. The paradox of oral performance in writing is brought one step nearer to its optimal solution.