In Finnish: Honko, Lauri 2000: Kalevalan viisi esitystä. Niina Roininen (ed.), Viimeinen Väinämöinen. Näkökulmia kansalliseepokseen, 10–37. Turku: Kirja-Aurora. I here intend to put forward 35 observations in the nature of theses on the textualisation of the Kalevala and the relationships between tradition-oriented and oral epics. The paper is founded on articles by me published in various contexts and was delivered in abridged form as a lecture at the University of Turku on 22 March 1999.
1. The many-splendoured Kalevala. True comprehension of the Kalevala may be hindered by a failure on the part of the reader to grasp the relationship between the oral material and its written textualisation. Do we, in the Kalevala, see the oral poetry such as we know also existed elsewhere, or do we regard it primarily as a literary product the appreciation of which does not require any familiarity with the oral tradition? The answers to these questions have as a rule been narrow, unsatisfactory stereotypes. One is the claim that the Kalevala was the creation of Lönnrot and a specific literary product; it cannot therefore represent the true folk poetry that is born and grows with no special intervention from the author, as Lönnrot himself said in the preface to the Kanteletar in 1840 (see e.g. Kaukonen 1984: xxx). Acceptance of this semi-truth paralyses debate and obscures the issue, be it the relationship between the Kalevala and folk poetry, the authorless state of a folk poem or the nature of methodical textualisation.
We must therefore begin by dismantling the stereotypes, and we may do so by stating that the Kalevala is not one epic but many. Between 1833 and 1862 Lönnrot was caught up in a remarkable act of creation now referred to by researchers as the Kalevala process, because it was a period that yielded no fewer than five Kalevalas, each more splendid than the last. (Honko 1985: 5–10; for a textualisation scheme see Kaukonen 1979: 161.) Such prolificacy is not often encountered in a literate culture in which work is presented in its final format and is not changed thereafter. In an oral culture, however, where performances are not usually documented, a process such as that of the Kalevala is quite common. The life of an oral poem consists of a series of performances that make their appearance and vanish, each replacing the last. There is something similar to this in the history of the five Kalevalas. We should not therefore be too hasty in branding the Kalevala as a purely literary product, as folklorists often tend to do.
2. From scribe to singer. It is impossible to understand Elias Lönnrot without seeing in him a singer with a great narrative in his mind ready to repeat it again and again on request. In an oral culture these performances would vanish, but in a literary culture a document remains of them that can be perused at leisure by singer and others alike. The researcher is thus presented with a unique opportunity for comparison: for tracing the development of the Kalevala story in the course of the years and decades. The development took place in the mind of the performer, Lönnrot, and really only ceased when he stopped writing about the Kalevala. Not one of the five performances of the Kalevala is the “true” or definitive one, contrary to the claims put forward by the great Kalevala scholar Väinö Kaukonen in rejecting the attempts of any but Lönnrot to influence the Kalevala in its day. The basic premise “There is only one Kalevala, the one compiled by Lönnrot” stated by Kaukonen in the work (1979) containing his final view on the subject is not strictly true. In making this claim Kaukonen in a way sought to safeguard Lönnrot’s copyright, whether it referred to the shortening of the Kalevala or its replacement by a “Folk-poem Kalevala” (Kuusi 1976).
3. The problem of authenticity. The second stereotype concerns the Kalevala material. Folk poems noted down from oral tradition on different occasions are looked upon as “Kalevala materials”, often without even taking the trouble to check whether they really were known to Lönnrot. In cases where their origin can be verified, “variants” are often designated source texts, glossing over the fact that the poem, verse or line in the oral composition, likewise its position and relations with the rest of the text, was subject to great variation, a matter of which Lönnrot was more aware than we are. Being constantly immersed in living tradition, he had no need to canonise one particular delivery: he knew that variation is a vital condition for the survival of a poem. He also learnt to tolerate variation and was aware that his notes did not embrace the full gamut of tradition.
The lines preserved for posterity represent only a fraction of the countless variations on the same motif or expression given voice in oral tradition. This still applies, even though the volume of poetry recorded has increased greatly since Lönnrot’s day. Hidden behind a single line are dozens of others, all possible in principle, of which we know nothing. We can, by examining those that have been preserved, nevertheless seek to establish the confines within which variation actually operated. Among the most useful sources in this respect are the repertoires of a single singer, and preferably ones in which the same poem has been noted down many times. Unfortunately collectors seldom paused to note down poems they had already heard before, maybe from the same singer, though these, if anything, would have provided an insight into the true variation in folk poetry.
Our knowledge being so thin, we are forced to found our conclusions as to the “counterparts” to lines in oral poems on observations other than that Lönnrot appears to have reproduced specific lines from a specific recording session. The researcher needs to develop a sense of possible lines similar to that with which Lönnrot would appear to have been blessed. Otherwise it is impossible to explain the recurring astonishment that Lönnrot seldom borrowed sections as such from the “source variants” and instead altered them. He had witnessed singers doing precisely this: they did not always repeat lines in the same way either, though they could undoubtedly have done so had they wished to. Our analysis of Lönnrot’s work runs astray if we see him simply as a scribe.
4. Thick corpus. The corpus comprising all five Kalevalas is in danger of being overlooked entirely. This is in fact a vast volume of material, a “thick” corpus such as few researchers are privileged to have at their disposal. It has been filtered through the consciousness and formulation of a single expert on tradition, in this case Lönnrot. Its cohesion is exceptional and it can be used to make observations on such aspects as the poetic rules and the tradition system as a whole. It can be said to represent Lönnrot’s tradition orientation, in other words everything he learnt and assimilated from what he heard.
Only in a thick corpus is it possible to discern the “organic” variation revealing the limits to the renderings of a single singer or community. Folklore scholars normally address thin corpora in which the occurrences of a narrative are far removed in time and place, i.e. they could not have influenced one another. The variation manifest in such corpora is by nature phenomenological; it is not tied to the consciousness of a certain individual or community or to the living poetic reality, and it can only be seen by the researcher. Organic variation does indeed exist, but in a thin corpus it is hidden behind each manifestation.
Our folklorists have a tendency to look askance at works such as the Kalevala, attaching more value to materials compiled from oral tradition, however thin they may be and however many sources they are taken from. Yet only materials fashioned by the same minds or repeatedly collected from the same region can achieve the inner cohesion and thickness that characterise the different Lönnrot Kalevalas. Products of a single mind comparable to the Kalevalas have only seldom been obtained from singers of epic poetry in Kalevalaic metre, though the repertoires of such as Larin Paraske, or Arhippa and Miihkali Perttunen are indeed magnificent in their own way.
5. The political dimension of the Kalevala. I used the term “the Kalevala process”. I did not, however, mention that it can be used in either a broader or a narrower sense. The broader Kalevala process begins with Porthan and is still going on. It is a history of ideologies rather than of poems. The fact that we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the New Kalevala in 1999 was part of this broader Kalevala process and basically an ideological gesture. Although I here intend to concentrate more on the narrower Kalevala process, by which I mean the textualisation of the Kalevala between 1833 and 1862, I should just mention in brief that the Kalevala is not merely a poetic phenomenon but also a political one.
The significance of the Kalevala is beyond dispute from the historical perspective. It was a major tool in the construction of a new national identity undertaken by students in Turku in the second decade of the 19th century: K. A. Gottlund and Abraham Poppius from the province of Savo, A. I. Arvidsson and A. J. Sjögren from Häme, and others like them. They turned to folklore for a very special purpose. An identity had to be created for a nation inhabiting the backward territory between two major powers at a time when the 700-year tie with Sweden had been severed and a new alliance with Russia was only just being established. It was a situation marked by backwardness and fear, but also by dreams and hope. (Honko 1980: 42–47.)
6. The birth of a nation. Nationhood usually comes about in three stages. First, a small academic elite merely dreams of it. Not until the second stage does the movement gain momentum, culminating in a fight for independence. If all goes well, this is then followed by a third stage, autonomy. A land and nation are born. (Hroch 1985: 186.)
Finland differs radically from this scheme, for we were granted autonomy almost without having to ask for it; and only then did the young academic elite start wondering what to do in this new situation. That the Finnish language should be the core of the national identity was accepted as a matter of course, even for those for whom it meant learning a new language and even changing to a different language in the home. (Honko 1999b: 31–32.) But the Finnish language was at the time only poor in the literary sense and not schooled in the execution of demanding assignments. The command of Finnish among the intelligentsia had, for example, clearly declined in the final century of Swedish rule. Both words and users of these words were missing.
7. The legacy of Porthan and Romanticism. Salvation came in the form of Romanticism. The Turku students devoured the ideas of Herder on folk poetry as the nation’s memory and archive and, in fact, the original language of the human race. Oral poetry was, according to Herder, the mother of literature. He accordingly singled out folk poetry as a vital precursor of literature bearing the seeds of the literary genres that would later blossom. Folk poetry, he said, was the resource that shaped the course of the nation’s literature.
Finnish folk poetry, on the other hand, had a champion of its very own, and even before the Romantic era. The Turku students recalled the view expressed on it by Henrik Gabriel Porthan, historian and Professor of eloquence at the Turku Academy who had died ten years before. For Porthan had admired the innate talent, accurate memory and excellent command of their mother tongue of the nation’s illiterate poets – an art they had honed by diligent practice and industrious singing. The purity of their language, the pleasing originality of their phrases and their feeling for the beauty of their mother tongue were the primary factors that made their poems so superior. (Porthan 1983 : 70–71.)
The words of Porthan appeared to provide an answer to the predicament. Here, surely, was good reason to collect and publish Finnish folk poetry? Only thus could confidence be generated in the richness and potential of the language of the peasants as a medium for learning.
8. The seeds of literature. There was, however, also a poetic side to the matter. According to the Romantic view of the 18th century, European literature began with the epics of Homer. Aristotle, in his Poetics, had already defined the epic as a genre of poetry, but not until the evolution of literature as charted by the Romantics was the epic springing from oral poetry hailed as the cornerstone of written literature.
This respect prompted the Turku students to turn their gaze on oral poetry. True, they were initially a little uncertain as to whether they should perhaps seek the roots of literature in Old Norse mythology. The Swedish Romantics, in the crisis that followed the collapse of the Empire, nevertheless brought them to their senses again by pointing out that Finland had preserved a folk poetry of its own that was so precious and original that the Finns would be better advised to concentrate on this and leave the reconstruction of the Old Norse past to the Scandinavians.
Seldom have the history and future of a nation been so singularly in the hands of a few young philosophers and aesthetes as then. Nowadays, we would probably say that, the times being difficult, the moment was just right for the Kalevala. Just as in ancient Greece, Finnish literature could begin with epic. Such was the reasoning of K. A. Gottlund in 1817, five years before Elias Lönnrot enrolled at the University in Turku. In a way, Herder’s wishful thinking came true in Finland. An epic created a nation.
9. The Kalevala process and Turku. We nowadays therefore speak of the Kalevala process in two senses. On the one hand it can be viewed as a process beginning with the interest in folk poetry of Henrik Gabriel Porthan, the celebrated teacher at the Turku Academy, that has continued right up to the present day and that will go on for as long as the Kalevala is preserved in people’s minds. On the other hand we speak of the narrower Kalevala process taking place in the mind of Elias Lönnrot that produced five Kalevalas between 1833 and 1862.
One thing of which a surprising number of people do not seem to be aware is that the broader Kalevala process started in Turku. The Turku folk poetry era began with Porthan and ended with the Fire of Turku in 1827. It was during this period that the idea for the Kalevala was born, in Turku.
Porthan did not yet have any active plans for a Finnish epic, but he could clearly envisage the potential for it. This was, for example, evident from the fact that he spoke out in defence of the Ancient Poems of Ossian of the Scot James MacPherson, the authenticity of which was open to doubt. Porthan reckoned that on the basis of the Finnish folk poetry known to him, it would be possible to imagine a large epic founded on oral poem variants. This view in fact incorporates the idea that led to the Kalevala.
10. Lönnrot’s models. The Turku students of the 1810s thus took over where Porthan left off, combining the Romantic view of epic and the creation of a Finnish identity. More important from Lönnrot’s point of view were, however, Porthan himself and some of Porthan’s students, from Christfrid Ganander to Zacharias Topelius the elder, all of whom had their own ways of publishing folk poetry.
While at the University Elias Lönnrot had become acquainted with Porthan’s opinion of the great literary value of folk poetry and his encouragement to publish poems as they were found; only cautious patching heeding the rules of text criticism was permissible. Ganander, on the other hand, adopted a different approach, editing poems as a sort of encyclopaedic presentation of Finnish mythology. Lönnrot, too, at one stage entertained ideas of using Finnish mythology as a rubric for the nascent epic. In doing so he took as his model both Ganander and Snorri’s well-known Edda.
The legacy of Porthan was propagated by Zacharias Topelius the elder, said to be the last follower of Porthan, who published the first volume of his significant collection of folk poems (Old songs of the Finnish people together with songs of more recent times I–IV, 1822–31) in the year Lönnrot enrolled at the University. Not until after Topelius’s death, in 1831, did Lönnrot finally become aware that the baton had been passed on to him, and that it was now up to him to continue publishing the old poems. Until then he assumed that the main responsibility lay with others.
The Turku scholars were interested in the chronological order of the events described in the poems; this applied especially to those who believed that the poems were reflections of history. Among them was Reinhold von Becker, Associate Professor at the University and Lönnrot’s teacher. His influence on Lönnrot was in many ways decisive. He was also interested in and a collector of folk poetry and assigned his student Lönnrot the topic of Väinämöinen for his Master’s thesis – a theme with which Lönnrot was already familiar.
In 1820 von Becker had published an article on this leading figure in narrative poetry that differed from the ordinary not so much because of its historical interpretation of the motifs as for the way the poems themselves were presented. Von Becker placed the poems one after the other, thus leaving them to tell of the past. The result was a sort of biography of Väinämöinen. If we remove or convert to the archaic meter the very brief passages inserted by von Becker to link the poems together, we have before us a very Kalevala-ish text. It is interesting to see that the bridge passages emulate the poetic meter. The great innovation is precisely the continuity of the narrative; for the very first time in the Kalevala process we have a text that is more than one poem.
Thus von Becker in fact established the basic idea for the Kalevala a whole two years before Lönnrot arrived in Turku. In time Lönnrot then decided to follow von Becker’s example in the development of a great narrative. It is no exaggeration to say that the article by von Becker is an embryo Kalevala.
11. The Kalevala process gets off to a brisk start. The process of textualising the Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot got off to a brisk start: the cyclical preforms and Proto-Kalevala both date from 1833. The former comprised three episodes: Lemminkäinen (825 lines, July 1833), Väinämöinen (1,867 lines, October) and the Wedding Songs (499 lines, October). Within a month he had also produced the Collected Songs about Väinämöinen (5,052 lines) connecting the three cycles and adding to the story; this later came to be known as the Proto-Kalevala. These early works had not yet appeared in print before they were followed, in 1835, by a truly long epic, the Old Kalevala (12,078 lines).
The reason for this speedy textualisation was an accidental delay. Again and again Lönnrot had been forced to postpone his trip to Viena, though he was well aware that Zacharias Topelius the elder had obtained his best poetry from travelling merchants from the region. His reason for cancelling the trip in 1830 is not known. That planned for 1831 was interrupted by an outbreak of cholera on the eastern border of Finland. His visit in 1832 was to be only brief, taking him no further than Akonlahti. When he did finally get as far as Vuonninen in September 1833, he immediately regretted not having spent his summers in Viena, the promised land of poetry and language, instead of in the archipelago. This fourth trip was indeed decisive to his conceiving of the Kalevala and was followed just over six months later by a fifth trip that doubled the volume and greatly diversified the quality of his epic haul to date. Having dithered for years, he now proceeded in leaps and bounds in just under a year, inspired by the epic of Viena. (Honko 1999a: xiv.)
12. The open epic. The Old Kalevala may be described as an open epic that, with its preface and the “variants” published at the end, cried out for further collection, critique and improvements rather than admiration as a finished work. Even so, it quickly became a national and linguistic cornerstone on which to lay the foundations of a frail Finnish identity. Few in fact read the work in its original language (the edition of 500 took 12 years to sell), but the translations made of it and the prestigious statements expressed by J. L. Runeberg and Jacob Grimm in particular assured it a place not only in Finnish but in world literature as well.
13. Epic breadth. Whereas the problem of the Old Kalevala had been the relative paucity of its material and its totally Viena-Karelianism (which in fact gave it lucidity), the problem of the New Kalevala of 22,795 lines published more than a decade later (in 1849) was an over-supply of material that demanded a new editing principles and resulted in true “epic breadth”.
The national epic status transferred to the New Kalevala, and an ever-growing circle of educated Finnish speakers began to read it. The Old Kalevala was thus relatively little known even in its day. Scholars today may also regard it as a forgotten epic and one difficult to obtain. It does not, however, deserve to be forgotten, for the Old Kalevala is an opus in its own right and an important milestone not only historically but in the poetic sense as well.
The same in fact applies to the last stage in the Kalevala process, the version for schools of 1862 running to 9,732 lines. This is a beautiful abridgement and a measure of Lönnrot’s poetic and ideological preferences after an interval of thirteen years. Research has more or less totally ignored this fifth version, though this was precisely the one read by the emergent Finnish nationalists.
14. Mental text. All five Kalevalas are versions of the same, constantly-developing great narrative and in this sense equal in status for purposes of research. Comparative epic research has introduced the concept of the “mental text”: the common denominator linking the different performances of a long oral epic. (Honko 1996: 4–5; 1998: 92–99.)
The mental text embraces a knowledge of the overall plot of the epic, familiarity with the descriptions of the main, often-recurring basic events, and a command of the epic idiom (phrases, for mulae). The word “text” does not in this context refer to a polished, cohesive text the course of which is fixed in advance right down to the smallest detail. This view would lead to a false concept of the production of an epic entity in which word-for-word recollection and reproduction would be a dominant feature. The mental text does take in a wealth of pre-edited linguistic materials but they are, as it were, in a generative, slightly chaotic state and only fall into place in performance.
The ultimate verbalisation of the text and the choice of a suitable “path of composition” thus spring from the unique situation in which the epic is performed. There are many reasons for this, by no means the least of which are the constraints imposed by the performing situation and the time at the singer’s disposal. Since long oral epics cannot be performed in their entirety, the oral epics heard in real life are usually either sections or abridgements of a longer narrative.
The mental text of oral tradition is regarded as being the property of a single performer and as developing from one performance to the next. The parallel with Elias Lönnrot is thus logical. Kalevala research can then address the change taking place in the mental text of Elias Lönnrot as manifest in the five editions of the text. The differences between oral and written tradition explain why the Kalevalas were produced not to be sung but to be read, and why each version existed for reference even after the next had been produced. Even more significant is the difference in scope: the literary format meant that the epic could be presented in its entirety; this would seldom have been possible in the oral tradition.
15. Conciseness and compactness a formal ideal. The ideal form for Finnish-Karelian epic poetry is a concise narrative in which the verbal art rests to a great extent on a strict poetic meter, alliteration and redundancy. The longest cycle noted down is probably the 565-line Creator’s Song (Saarinen 1994: 182). I personally am prepared to believe that much longer episodes were performed, but that like most performances of oral tradition, they have since disappeared. This does not alter the fact that brevity is a virtue in Finnish-Karelian epic, and that even the longest
poems are reminiscent of synopses, of summaries of a plot. They cursorily cover and sometimes merely allude to motifs that could, if dealt with at leisure and length, quickly make the performance many times longer.
We must not forget that the oral performances that have been preserved for us were noted down under difficult conditions in which the spontaneous performance would have suffered from frequent interruption. Even an experienced singer would try to be brief in such a situation.
The brevity of performance, combined with the redundancy that slowed down the presentation of new information, yielded a unique compactness that is very impressive poetically but that is not in keeping with epic narration as a genre. Poetry in Kalevalaic meter in fact suffers from a slight incompatibility between the formal ideal and style of performance. The singer aiming at conciseness and impact while at the same time being bound by the conventions of the poetic meter is forced to compromise over the number of motifs chosen for narration. Singers will have to allow for the fact that whatever they say will have to be said at least twice, and in different words the second time round. If the ideal is compactness, the number of motifs will have to be curtailed.
16. Cyclical technique. The only way to “enlarge”, a vital condition for epic, is therefore to adopt a cyclical technique. By this I mean the linking together of poetic motifs to form a broader entity. This was done to a varying extent by singers of oral poetry in Finland and Karelia. The cycles were relatively fixed, as in the case of the Sampo episode performed by many singers, in which 4–5 motifs are woven together to form an exciting narrative, or loose, as in the case of the poems performed in succession by singers competing with one another; on another occasion the poems might be presented in a different order.
What is interesting is that a longer version did not alter the formal ideal: the longest Sampo episode is only 402 lines (Kuusi et al. 1977: 110–20, 528), because even in cycles, singers favoured the compactness characteristic of Finnish-Karelian narrative poetry. The best singers had enough material at their command to produce poems ten times as long, but they were prevented from using it by the unnatural context – dictation – and by the prevailing concept of what constituted a “good poem”. This was not conducive to the detailed description or pauses for digression into minor episodes characteristic of long epic.
No reliable information remains of the cycles covered in singing competitions, but the cuts from one theme to another must have been sharp. Singers sought to satisfy the length ideal by carrying on singing, not by choosing a longer poetic entity. It is regrettable that we do not have any documents of the nocturnal singing sessions at the Lapukka fishing huts where the young Arhippa Perttunen listened to his father, a singer capable of singing all night without once having to sing the same poem twice (Virtanen 1968: 23).
17. The significance of the collection trips. It must be remembered that his collection trips had a decisive influence on Elias Lönnrot’s development. While on his travels, he got to know not only poems but also the ways in which singers handled them. This was an art not possessed by those who had earlier spoken of the significance of folk poetry. Many of them never did any fieldwork at all, but obtained their texts from others who had noted them down and whose work was often hindered by a poor command of the language.
We tend to forget that the versions printed in the Ancient Poems of the Finnish People are often imprecise reflections of what the singer actually sang. In many cases they are no more than torsos. It is therefore no wonder that Elias Lönnrot had a different view on the publication of folk poems from Porthan and Zacharias Topelius the elder.
Lönnrot later confirmed in the preface to the New Kalevala that the initial, decisive impetus came from von Becker. In his doctoral dissertation of 1827, the latter part of which was destroyed in the Fire of Turku that same year, there are, admittedly, not yet any signs of weaving texts together. Instead the object of compilation is even more demanding: all the information about Väinämöinen given in different sources.
The tragic fire was to have lucky repercussions for Lönnrot’s interest in folk poetry, because it forced him to interrupt his medical studies and gave him time for such things as collecting folk poetry. His account of his journey to the distant regions of Eastern Finland is a perfect gem of its kind. It clearly reveals that during his travels Lönnrot discovered a completely new world of living poetry that slowly but surely began to shatter his view of oral poetry previously founded on literary sources. He became a fieldworker happy to be out among the people and one who sped, even on foot, from village to village and encountered his first key singer, Juhana Kainulainen, a master of incantations, at Kesälahti (Kaukonen 1979: 30).
18. The purpose of collection. Even while still on his travels Lönnrot began organising the poems he had collected with a view to publication. It must be pointed out that his intentions were from the very outset to publish, not to deposit the poems in an archive, as later became the custom. He regarded his material only with a view to publication. For this reason he was at pains to standardise the Finnish orthography, at that time still not formally established, and edited out any dialectical irregularities. For, as he stated, his aim was widespread readability in a standard language, not to preserve the dialectical diversity. The result was ultimately a major compromise between the earlier written language and the eastern dialects. Before long he was inviting readers to subscribe to a five-volume anthology of folk poems called the Kantele, volumes I–IV of which were published in 1829–31.
19. The significance of the note-taking method. The way in which Lönnrot noted down his poetry has tended to be overlooked. He must have realised early on that dictation had a detrimental effect on the texts. Having to wait for the scribe to catch up made the skilled singer shorten his performance while the less skilled got completely confused. The collector thus learnt to send his pen flying across the page apace with the recitation, often noting down only the first letter(s) of words and sometimes dismissing the redundant line with a mere letter or two. He would then write up a full version at a later stage, sometimes making two or even three clean copies. Often the last version is the only one that has been preserved.
Phonetic precision was obviously out of the question. The better Lönnrot’s command of the poetic language became, the more gaps he could leave in his note-taking. In filling them in he normalised the poetic language. The lines were no longer precisely as they had been sung; rather they became what Lönnrot considered they ought to be. We may well say that the editing of the line began even while the singer’s voice was still echoing round the cottage, and the writing down also became a sort of performance. Lönnrot had to “identify” the line in his own yet true-to-tradition way while it was still being uttered. He would in fact “sing” the line in his mind. His “editing” thus began in the field when he made a clean copy. In a way he then sang the line again. To be successful, the method required a command of the material equal to that of a singer. Lönnrot then sang the line a third time when he placed it in a broader context in the Kalevala. The first singing represented the reception of the line, the second its adaptation and the third the realisation of the textual idea.
20. Epic idiolect. Another consequence of Lönnrot’s note-taking technique was that he actively learnt the language of poetry. In order to be able to interpret his notes, he had to be in command of the “epic idiolect”, the personal epic idiom that was influenced by many but that gradually acquired independence. The entire Kalevala process is proof of his linguistic competence, which was as phenomenal as the volume of poetry collected by him. Whereas his predecessors had collected some 10,000 lines, he alone had collected more than 25,000 lines before the publication of the Old Kalevala.
There is no doubt at all about Lönnrot’s outstanding natural command of poetic language. There was no need for him to keep consulting his notes; he could sing himself if he wished. This had no qualitative effect on the poetry, or at least no detrimental one. “Kalevala-speak” came as naturally to him as any other form of speech. It is therefore misguided to view Lönnrot as a mere jigsaw puzzler or mechanical assembler of lines and sequences.
21. Kalevala no. 1: the cyclical preforms. Lönnrot was already taking the decisive step towards his cyclical technique in his little Kantele volumes. Most of the poems in them are compiled from various jottings and only a few were published as such. Although Lönnrot did undoubtedly feel he was continuing the work of Zacharias Topelius the elder, he had nevertheless struck off along a new path signposted not by Porthan (who had pointed the way for Topelius) but by von Becker.
The slight role occupied by epic in the Kantele volumes is noticeable. Most of the material consists of incantations and lyrical poems the very structure of which favours expansion by combination. The very first volume does, however, contain a significant omen in the form of a fine epic poem entitled “Väinämöinen prepares for war with Pohjola”. This is an exciting pointer to the Kalevala, where one of the central features is the opposition between Kalevala and Pohjola. The folk poem in question, noted down at Taipale in 1828, proves that Lönnrot was already mulling over the basic structure of the great narrative at an early date.
22. The intensive creative process: fieldwork points the way. The start of the Kalevala textualisation process reads like a thriller. It begins in May 1833, when Elias Lönnrot informs the Finnish Literature Society that he will shortly be submitting the fifth volume, “On Väinämöinen, Lemminkäinen and other subjects”, of his Kantele series for publication. He receives no reply because the Society Secretary is away in Sweden.
A draft of a letter dated July reveals that Lönnrot has, by way of experiment, “put together or continued” the poems about Lemminkäinen, thus arriving at “825 verses about him without adding a single word of my own”. This new approach signified a change of method. From now onwards he would not be publishing poems in separate Kantele volumes. The first part of the cyclical preform Kalevala contained two separate Lemminkäinen cycles, one based on the notes made by Topelius the elder already published and the other on poems obtained by Lönnrot at Kesälahti and Ilomantsi. It was obvious that the Väinämöinen cycle would be even bigger.
At this point Lönnrot was obliged to wait for the manuscripts he had requested from Helsinki. In September 1833 he departed on his rounds as a doctor but extended his travels with a short stay of just over a week across the border at Vuonninen, Vuokkiniemi and Akonlahti. At Vuonninen he met Ontrei Malinen, who sang him nine superb poems, including the long Sampo episode.
Another important encounter was that with Vaassila Kieleväinen, whose vocal art was on the decline but whose combinations of poetic motifs provided Lönnrot with materials for a great narrative. It may be claimed that the “mental text” of this old man, his personal vision of the mutual relationships between the events in the narrative poems, caused Lönnrot to stop thinking of the events individually and proved to him that, just as he had long suspected, there were threads running through them and linking them up. This encouraged him to continue working on the mental text that would lay the foundations for the Kalevalas to follow.
23. The intensive creative process: the desk and the Proto-Kalevala. On returning from his travels, Lönnrot quickly put together the remaining sections of the cyclical preforms. By October 1833 he had completed Väinämöinen and the Wedding Songs, the latter drawing on the wedding songs he had collected at Vuokkiniemi. Väinämöinen had two separate cycles, the former based on the narrative of Vaassila Kieleväinen and the Sampo episode of Ontrei Malinen, and the latter reflecting the ideas put forward in the article by von Becker. The appendix to Väinämöinen gave three more poems which Lönnrot had not yet incorporated in the composition as a whole. This all gives the impression of a product still at the blueprint stage. Its semi-finished nature further indicates the openness of Lönnrot’s epic to tradition. He presumably deliberately left gaps in it, quite rightly assuming that he would soon find material on his
travels to fill them.
On the other hand, there are already clear signs of the structural problems of the cycles. Väinö Kaukonen says that Lönnrot had at this point come to a dead end (Kaukonen 1979: 47). The plots of the preforms were in many ways unsatisfactory and the idea of continuing them by introducing a different main hero did not really seem feasible because the same heroes appeared together in many of the poems and because their number might as a result be reduced. Zacharias Topelius the elder had already spotted that Lemminkäinen and Kaukomieli were one and the same person, and Lönnrot continued to identify them as such at various stages in the Kalevala process.
By November 1833 Lönnrot was already experimenting with a new solution, no longer dividing the cycles up but combining the entire material to form one big narrative. Although very little time elapsed between the cyclical preforms and the Proto-Kalevala, it meant a very great step forwards. The narrative now has epic breadth and flows along without being interrupted by the end of one motif and the beginning of another. The resulting Collected Songs about Väinämöinen is little short of a miracle in that it makes a confident transition to a long epic and already incorporates most of the basic plot solutions in the Kalevala, such as the symmetrical placing of the forging and stealing of the Sampo at roughly the beginning and end of the epic as a framework for the great narrative. The result is a true Proto-Kalevala.
24. Lönnrot’s ambition and models: Homer, Edda. The dream of a Finnish epic expressed by K. A. Gottlund in 1817 was now about to come true. Yet Lönnrot was already looking ahead to the next stage when, in a letter dated 3.12.1833, he explains: “I have about 5–6 thousand lines of poetry about Väinämöinen alone, from which it may be concluded that this will swell to a considerable collection. I nevertheless intend to make another brief visit to the Government of Archangel during the winter, and I will not cease collecting poems until I have a collection comparable to half of Homer. The poems in my possession are in content all from the same episode as that which a certain old man partly sung and partly narrated to me about Väinämöinen.”
The reference to Homer reveals Lönnrot’s true ambition. He was no doubt familiar with the age-old theory of composition put forward by F. A. Wolf in 1795 and revived by the Romantics, according to which the epic songs of Antiquity were collected in the days of Peisistratus around 525 BC and given a uniform plot. The role of the editor was here of primary importance.
The creation of the Kalevala was a repeat of the process, and Lönnrot’s mission was clear. It is interesting to note that subsequent research has found little to amend in the theory. The editor has been replaced by a scribe who notes down the epic at the singer’s dictation. The editorial role of the scribe, who must have influenced the textualisation, has also been emphasised. Verbatim recording on paper was not necessarily one of the norms of the times.
Similar modifications may also be made with reference to Lönnrot: he is both a scribe affecting the textualisation of a poem and a singer performing his own version of the great narrative. The fact that his version is a personal one does not discount the product as one of oral poetry, since oral epics are likewise produced by an individual, often in a way that differs radically from that of other singers. In writing the Kalevala Lönnrot assimilates and rejects elements produced by others just as a singer of oral tradition does in his own performance in the cultures in which long oral epic is known.
25. The fifth field trip and the Old Kalevala. The fifth field trip in the latter half of April 1834 exceeded even the collector’s hopes and expectations. Lönnrot met a number of good singers, among them Martiska Karjalainen at Lonkka, the widow called Matro at Uhtua and a true master, Arhippa Perttunen, at Latvajärvi. The result was no fewer than 8,900 lines of epic poetry, among them some entirely new poems but above all some “improvements on old ones”, as Lönnrot put it.
The basic material for the Kalevala had now been amassed. All that was needed was a little hard work and the manuscript would be ready. This was in November 1834. Lönnrot then made yet another clean copy, presumably further polishing the text, and dated the preface 28.2.1835. The first volume reached the bookshops in time for Christmas that year and the second in March 1836.
26. Comparison of the Proto-Kalevala and the Old Kalevala. Comparison of the Proto- and Old Kalevalas reveals considerable symmetry, the most notable feature being the number of poems, which has risen from 16 to 32. In many cases a song has been expanded by added material to the Proto-Kalevala and dividing the song into two, so that one song in the Proto-version corresponds to two in the Old. The structure of the epic does not noticeably change until poems 13 and 14 of the Proto-Kalevala.
By way of example let us examine the expansion of poem 3 (the wooing of the daughter of Pohjola and Väinämöinen’s knee wound) in the Proto-Kalevala into poems 3 and 4 in the Old Kalevala. The original opening lines of poem 3 can be found at the beginning of poem 3 and the closing lines at the end of poem 4, so the plot frame remains intact. Yet the 159 lines towards the beginning of the Proto-Kalevala poem have increased to 200 in poem 3 of the Old Kalevala and the 57 at the end of the Proto-Kalevala to no fewer than 420 in poem 4 of the Old Kalevala. The additions in Old Kalevala poem 3 are of no great significance: a single line is supplemented by a redundant line, the description of Väinämöinen’s first job is presented as many as three times, a description of Väinämöinen’s journey is added to the beginning of the poem, and further on there is an additional account of how the axe first hits a stone and of Väinämöinen’s attempt to staunch the blood by himself before seeking help from the village.
We can see that the rapid sequence of events does not permit much expansion. By contrast, the architecture of Old Kalevala poem 4 is dominated almost completely by the enlargements. The main section, some 300 lines from the beginning, is new – a sort of incantation epic embedded in the overall epic – and the motif is the origin of iron. The blood-staunching formulae that follow also have numerous additional lines. In other words, enlargement halting the course of the plot is most successful in rituals where rite text of a non-epic nature can be extended at will by recalling various myths and by weaving alternate origins into sequences.
If we then look to see what Proto-Kalevala lines Lönnrot has omitted from the Old Kalevala, we will find a few cases in which a clumsy group of lines or illogicalities in the text have been deleted. (For example, the ointment is not fetched from Pohjola because the action is already taking place there.) This is the basic scheme of the method aiming at growth.
27. Ideological changes. Some of the changes may be regarded as ideological. Thus the following Proto-Kalevala lines were not deemed acceptable for the end of Old Kalevala poem 4: “luonnon luojalta lujalta” (replaced by “luota luojan kaikkivallan”) and “Joka pilviä pitääpi, hattaroita hallitseepi” (deleted). The reason is to be found in Lönnrot’s interpretation of the ancient monotheism of the Finns, in which God easily acquires features of the Christian God, even though Lönnrot deleted such direct references to the Christian tradition as Jesus and the Virgin Mary in all but the last poem of the Kalevala; for this he was also criticised.
“Luonnon luominen” (“nature-building”) refers to the rites by which a human might strengthen his “nature” by, for example, casting himself naked on a rock during a thunderstorm and beseeching Ukko to take away his (the beseecher’s) bad nature and give him a strong one instead. The deleted pair of lines thus referred to the weather god: the supreme god Ukko was the god of thunder who revealed himself on high but not the omnipotent Creator. Lönnrot did not wish allusions to such rites and beliefs to be incorporated in the image of god presented in the Kalevala, despite the fact that there was plenty of evidence of this in the poems.
Lönnrot thus applied tradition; he did not just use it. The same issue is raised in the preface to the Old Kalevala on the pages that on the one hand reject the identification of Ilmarinen with the god of the wind while at the same time wondering at the weak deification of Väinämöinen and finally proving that the main characters in the Kalevala are heroes of human origin. The old historical paradigm rooted in von Becker continued to prevail even though the historicalness of the Finnish-Karelian epic was slight and mixed with mythical elements, at least in comparison with the epics of other European nations.
28. The ebb and flow of the historical and mythological interpretations. The interpretation of the Kalevala and folk poetry has fluctuated between history and mythology. The historical interpretation appears to gain ascendancy at times when the nation is under threat from outside, while the mythological blossoms in times of peace. In his preface to the Old Kalevala Elias Lönnrot clearly came down in favour of the former interpretation, not only because he was influenced by von Becker but also because the Finnish identity was in dire straits, suffering from birth pangs, as we know so well.
Even so, Lönnrot would appear to have felt pulled towards the mythological interpretation. He admired the work of Christfrid Ganander and regarded as an alternative to the Kalevala a work he tentatively named “A Finnish mythology compiled from old songs”! Finnish narrative poetry is difficult to dismiss as purely historical, as Lönnrot’s tortuous account of the name Kaleva given in the preface to the Old Kalevala shows.
29. Finnish literature still young. The preface to the Old Kalevala makes strange reading for the present-day Finn, who is immediately reminded of the astounding youth of Finnish literature. Little more than 150 years ago it did not even exist in the true sense – a claim confirmed by any history of world literature published outside Finland. In joining company with Elias Lönnrot we thus find ourselves laying the very foundations for Finnish orthography, language, poetics, literature and historiography, at a time when there were few norms and methods to work by. Yet here was Lönnrot creating the first Finnish book to be mentioned in world literature. (Honko 1999a: xx.) For a quarter of a century the Kalevala was in practice the only work in Finnish of any significance. Not until Aleksis Kivi’s play Kullervo in 1860 did a new era dawn, and even that was founded on the Kalevala.
30. The conflict between Romantic epic theory and field experience. The Kalevala process coincided with the height of the Romantic theory on literature. According to this, folk epics were not individual but collective creations. They would cease to be worth anything if touched by a single human hand. Just how this fanciful view worked in practice was not fully clear to anyone.
In the Kalevala process Elias Lönnrot found himself neither here nor there. On the one hand he accepted the Romantic view on the nature of folk poetry, yet on the other hand he was constantly collecting empirical information in the field. He was far from being a bookworm burrowing in the archives. To him, poems were not a historical phenomenon in the way they are to modern researchers. On the contrary: singers and poems for him represented life as it was lived; the singers were contemporaries he could talk to.
That Lönnrot studied the poems for information on the ancient origins of the Finns instead of, say, analysing the repertoires of the best singers, as a modern researcher would probably do, does not alter the fact that Lönnrot’s concept of epic poetry was constantly changing as he acquired more experience in the field. Initially this is evident from his letters to such friends as J. L. Runeberg, and later from the articles he published in order to bridge the gap that was emerging between him and the educated readers of the Kalevala. Lönnrot was increasingly concerned that his work would be judged by people who had no knowledge at all of the way the singers worked or the environments in which oral poetry was performed.
31. Elias Lönnrot’s theory on folk poetry. Lönnrot could not afford to disassociate himself from Romantic epic theory. Instead, he began to develop a second, more personal theory of folk poetry alongside it. This theory embraced a considerable number of sharp observations on the production and transmission of oral poetry. It has still not been comprehensively studied, but there is no denying the fascination of the issue.
Let me quote a couple of examples. In the preface to the New Kalevala Lönnrot outlines the vertical and horizontal transmission of tradition in a way that has only recently been equalled by modern folklore research. Lönnrot regarded the vertical transmission of tradition from one generation to the next as more conservative and preservative than the horizontal spreading of a song often after a single hearing. One interesting point here is the interaction between these two modes, the mutual control in which the old holds back the new and the new pulls the old along. Lönnrot draws a distinction between text and texture, content and language in a way that is distinctly modern. The continuity of folklore is, according to him, greatly dependent on its tolerance of rich linguistic variation without the narrative itself and the plot structure being spoilt in the process.
In Lönnrot’s theory of folklore no texture as we know it is the original one and all are the products of relatively late processes of change. Poems are the same primarily at the level of plot structure and contentual components, not at the level of language. This view, which modern research can accept on certain conditions, does in fact have a revolutionary effect on the question of the authenticity of poems: even the most authentic line material is new and renewing, not old and recurring. It is virtually impossible to reconstruct the oldest verbalisation by any means whatsoever.
This is diametrically opposed to the view held by Lönnrot’s learned contemporaries, according to which epic work was basically the restoration of a broken mosaic, the placing of lines and episodes in the order in which they existed in ancient times, before the epic became fragmented.
Meanwhile Lönnrot, who had not encountered any really long epic format in any of the singers he had met, was led to conjecture, again inspired by his field observations, that an epic could in the future be born in the same way as the poetic cycles some singers had sung for him in Viena Karelia, where in other respects, too, the poems showed signs of growing longer and cumulating. This would mean that the birth of a long epic which the Romantics regarded as having taken place in ancient times in fact still lay in the future. It was to remain for Lönnrot to accelerate the process and to carry it to its conclusion in a situation in which the ancient poetry – tradition condemned to recede – no longer had the strength to bring about the evolution towards a long epic that was in fact possible.
32. Scribe or singer? Whatever he thought, Lönnrot was nevertheless obliged to allow for the Romantic view of authenticity in the way he worked – the view that the only valuable line was that issuing from the singer’s mouth. He set about solving a peculiar sort of jigsaw puzzle, not once but five times in producing the five versions of the Kalevala between 1833 and 1862. He avoided the composition of lines and combined lines and episodes sung by different singers on various occasions in a way that preserved a direct link with the poetic tradition at precisely the level he well knew to be most volatile.
One of the reasons for his method was, as we can read from his letters, a desire to avoid the criticism levelled at James MacPherson the Scot. MacPherson had written the Poems of Ossian on the basis of source material but committed the error of describing his role as that of a “translator”. When his claim was disproved, the value of the Poems of Ossian plummeted, despite their great impact on the literature and mindscape of Europe in the latter half of the 18th century.
Thus Lönnrot, out of inborn humility and a fear of causing the poetry a drop in prestige, established a working method thanks to which the Kalevala can be considered more authentic at the level of line than any other epic compiled from folk poetry. His achievement was considerable but relative. More important than the line level was the level of structure and plot, and Lönnrot did, like any epic singer and collator, have to take the solutions into his own hands. In the case of the New Kalevala he openly admitted that the role of the scribe had been joined by another: that of the singer and narrator.
Lönnrot was still basing his arguments on his experience in the field: he had observed the way singers guided the plot and gave a shorter or longer performance as the situation required. In his opinion he took no more liberties than any other competent singer. There is no denying that he differed from the normal scribe-cum-collector. He delved deeper into the world of singers and songs in his search for a great narrative. He had assimilated the knowledge and skills of dozens of singers and was thus competent to narrate any episode in full compliance with the rules of tradition and poetics. Poetry was, for him, no longer a collection of mere texts, since he had learnt to think and speak like singers in the language of the epic.
Elias Lönnrot forged a link between literary and oral culture. The American scholar A. N. Doane defines a scribe as a person who re-hears, oralises and re-performs oral events in such a way that the text may change but still remains authentic, just as the text of a completely oral poet will change from one performance to the next without being any less authentic (Doane 1991: 80–81).
33. The exceptional individual. In one respect Lönnrot did differ from his singers: he wanted a long epic. This was a format the singers lacked, or they recognised it only as a latent possibility. Here again the situation is more normal than might be supposed. The performers of long epic are rare personalities in any culture, including those where the long format exists in the tradition. Even there, epic is not a genre mastered by just anyone.
Recent research based on fieldwork into living oral epic has proved that even illiterate singers are just as rare and individual as creators of long entities as Lönnrot was: they, too, may mull over their mental text for decades and perform versions of different lengths. Their material is traditional, yet they neither repeat themselves nor copy others. (See Honko 1998: 141–215.) Nor are long epics transferred as such from one singer to another. Their textualisation and overall mould are always unique.
Lönnrot, being literate, was able to seek a rare authenticity that could be called “singing with borrowed lines”. It is, on the other hand, clear that he very soon mastered the epic register so well that he no longer had to “cheat” and consult his notes to see how to express something in a faultless tetrameter that obeyed the rules of tradition. In this sense the famous description by August Ahlqvist of Lönnrot working with the help of an interleaved Kalevala is misleading.
It is, however, impossible to confirm Lönnrot’s competence by counting the number of “borrowed lines”. More important is his poetics: is it superior or inferior to that of dozens of experienced singers? This is a question that has never been fully answered, but I would not be worried about Lönnrot’s score in this test. If we do not expect him to imitate this or that singer whose lines he is proved to have borrowed, but instead examine his performance from the perspective of the rules of tradition and the stock of poetry at his command, then he is a singer and narrator like any other. The fact that he has ideas and preferences of his own goes for any singer.
34. A tradition-oriented epic. The Kalevala is neither an oral epic nor a literary epic; it is a tradition-oriented epic. It belongs to the third category of world epic literature, the confines of which have only recently been clearly defined by comparative epic research. The place of birth and the form in which the oral epic exists is the living song, the epic discourse proceeding according to the rules of tradition stored in the memory and language. It has no fixed, permanent form. During its lifetime it is unwritten literature. Literary epic exists as a text that is created once by a poet and cannot thereafter be touched. Tradition-oriented epics exist somewhere in between written and unwritten literature, since they draw on material from the oral tradition but have acquired a fixed literary form.
The difference between oral and a tradition-oriented epic is the editing process involving the givers, takers and moulders of the material. We may, in a broader sense, speak of the textualisation of epic. As a result of this, epic that is liberally varied in the oral tradition is in a way frozen as a text which the editor and publisher consider representative and that places it among world epic literature. Whether the published product is regarded as oral or tradition-oriented depends on how it was edited, and above all on whether or not the final text keeps faithfully to the original oral discourse. Since oral epic is difficult to edit as a book, and since this easily involves objectives that are alien to oral culture, the result is often a collection of solutions and compromises, the worst of which almost destroy the oral discourse.
It would be questionable to call the Homeric
epics oral, though some scholars have sought to do so. Instead they should be classified as tradition-oriented epics, along with the Kalevala and most of the great European epics, such as Beowulf, the Song of Roland and the Nibelungenlied. The fact that they belong to the same category means they have the same or a similar history of textualisation. The attitude of their performers and editors to their traditional material and poetics likewise differed at certain points. They nevertheless share a desire to preserve and respect the oral poetry on which they are based.
The clearest difference of principle between a tradition-oriented and a literary epic is that traditional narratives are, for the poet of a literary epic, material for him to shape as he wishes. These materials are no problem for the epic poet: they can bend to his interpretation. The writer is master of the plot and imagery. The situation is completely different for the compiler such as Elias Lönnrot of a tradition-oriented epic. Flowing from his pen is a constant stream of text the meaning of which is not always entirely clear to him. The force of the oral discourse, the imagery and concepts of the folk poetry, the myths and rites retain their secrets even when committed to paper. And because the compiler is loath to subject them to endless tampering and the dictates of common sense, the epic (in this case the Kalevala) becomes an enigma even to its author. When he became a Professor Lönnrot gave series of lectures debating and wondering at the meanings of the contents of the Kalevala in a way that suggests at least a momentary waiving of editorial responsibility. (Honko 1995: 5–7.) We observe that the compiler or singer of a tradition-oriented epic readily makes little of his or her own personal role, preferring to fade into the background, as it were, and to hide behind tradition. Such was the case with Elias Lönnrot. He looked upon himself as a servant of tradition, not a master. In this respect he did not differ from the singers of long oral epic, who usually rejected the idea that they had made any personal amend ments to it.
35. Let us free Elias Lönnrot. Elias Lönnrot voluntarily entered the domain created by the Romantic view of folklore and there sought to approach the long epic of which he dreamt. The domain turned out to be a cramped cage, because it was too small to accommodate the empirical knowledge and poetic ability learnt by Lönnrot from folk singers in the academe of the field. He did not find a long format ready waiting for him to use, though he did discover the means of achieving it. The vital factors were learning the epic language and entering the singers’ world. Some of his field colleagues, and certainly Arhippa Perttunen, might, in favourable circumstances, possibly have been able to sing at far greater length than they did in dictation, when they were constantly being interrupted. The path to the long epic was there waiting, but the poetic culture did not favour it. It remained for Elias Lönnrot to follow it. Long epic is always the product of a single mind, not of tradition. Someone has to want it for it to be born. Lönnrot wanted it, and he performed his epic several times, to slightly different audiences and in slightly different forms, learning as he went along and editing his mental text at length. In this respect he did not differ from the singer of oral tradition. What is unusual, and of value to research, is that no fewer than five performances of the Kalevala have been preserved – a phenomenon never encountered in oral poetry as such. Lönnrot’s solutions and preferences were no more personal than those of the illiterate epic singers. Research is thus able to catch a glimpse of the mental editing that went on and to chart the history of one mental text.
It is time to free Elias Lönnrot and at the same time ourselves from the yoke of Romantic epic theory. Let us permit Lönnrot to sing his great story as he will, drawing on traditional materials just as singers of oral tradition and editors of folk-poetry epics have been doing ever since the days of Homer.
Doane, A. N. 1991: Oral Texts, Intertexts, and Intratexts: Editing Old English. Jay Clayton and Eric Rothstein (eds), Influence and Intertextuality in Literary History, 75–113. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Honko, Lauri 1980: Kansallisten juurien löytäminen. P. Tommila, A. Reitala and V. Kallio (eds), Suomen Kulttuurihistoria II, 42–62. Helsinki: WSOY.
— 1985: Kalevala-prosessi. Kotiseutu 1/1985: 5–10.
— 1995: Kalevala ja suulliset eepokset. Tieteessä tapahtuu 8: 5–10.
— 1996: Epics along the Silk Roads: Mental Text, Performance, and Written Codification. Oral Tradition 11 (1): 1–17.
— 1998: Textualising the Siri Epic. (FF Communications 264.) Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica.
— 1999a: Pitkän eepoksen laulaja. Kalevala taikka Vanhoja Karjalan Runoja Suomen Kansan Muinosista Ajoista, vii–xx. 1835 julkaistun Kalevalan laitoksen uusi painos. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.
— 1999b: Traditions in the construction of the cultural identity. Michael Branch (ed.), National History and Identity. Approaches to the Writing of National History in the North-East Baltic Region in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 19–33. (Studia Fennica Ethnologica 6.) Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.
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Saarinen, Jukka 1994: The Päivölä Song of Miihkali Perttunen. Anna-Leena Siikala and Sinikka Vakimo (eds), Songs Beyond the Kalevala. Transformations of Oral Poetry, 180–96. (Studia Fennica Folkloristica 2.) Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.
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by Lauri Honko
(FFN 24, May 2003: 6-17)