6. The Kalevala, the South Slavic Epics, and Homer*

The differences among the three epic traditions represented in this chapter are great. The Kalevala is the last of a series of compilations made by Elias Lönnrot of shorter songs collected by himself and others from epic singers in various parts of Finland. The oral-traditional epics of the South Slavs are independent, individual songs, both short a long, ranging from several hundred lines to 3,000, 5,000, and even up 10,000 lines. In respect to length some of them are close to the Homeric poems. The Homeric poems, that is, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, are also independent, individual songs, but their lengths are more than 10,000 lines each.
The Kalevala emerged in the period when the Liedertheorie was fashion as a means of understanding the composition of both the Middle High German Nibelungenlied and the Homeric poems, when the prevalent opinion was that these great poems were stitched together from shorter songs. That theory is no longer widely held. The classicist Milman Parry believed that the Homeric poems were composed in the same manner as the longer songs in the South Slavic tradition, and that each was the unified work of a single traditional singer.
In this paper I wish to discuss first the various kinds of relationships {104|105} among the three epic traditions of the title; second, the techniques of composition and transmission in the three traditions, Finnish, South Slavic, and ancient Greek; and third, some of the shared epic subjects and narrative patterns among the three areas.

Part I

The idea of concatenating Karelo-Finnish traditional songs into an epiclike whole was first advanced by Kaarle Akseli Gottlund in 1817: "if one should desire to collect the old traditional songs [National-sångerna] and from these make a systematic whole, there might come from them an epic, a drama, or whatever, so that from this a new Homer, Ossian, or Nibelungenlied might come into being.” [1] In the Preface to the Old Kalevala Lönnrot wrote:
Already while reading the songs previously collected, particularly those collected by Ganander, I at least wondered whether one might not possibly find songs about Väinämöinen, Ilmarinen, and Lemminkainen and other memorable forebears of ours until from these had been got longer accounts, too, just as we see that the Greeks [in the Homeric poems] and the Icelanders [in the Poetic or Elder Edda] and others got songs of their forebears. [2]
What Lönnrot created was in at least one respect closer to the Old Icelandic Eddie poems than to the Homeric because the individual shorter poems from which the Kalevala was made are visible in the final work. Lönnrot succeeded, however, in producing a "national epic" for the Finns, which had never existed before. He did not realize, of course, that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not really "national epics" for the ancient Greeks, any more than the Elder Edda was a "national epic" for the Icelanders.
Although all, or almost all, of its ingredients were oral-traditional songs, the Kalevala itself is not one. Domenico Comparetti pointed this out in 1898 in his extraordinary book, The Traditional Poetry of the Finns: {105|106}
That a whole popular, traditional poetry, living and bringing forth for centuries, should come to furnish the material for one single poem is a strange and abnormal phenomenon. Confronted with such a fact we have the right of doubting whether the poem can be defined as a popular production, collective and not individual; as is without doubt the poetry from which the poem was composed. [3]
The Kalevala was created by a collector, and it is unique. There are no variants other than the two that Lönnrot himself composed in the process of reaching the final version, created in the same way in which he composed it. They are not the natural variants formed in the normal processes of a living tradition. Lönnrot's material was traditional, but he altered it, and he devised the sequences of songs of different genres, which were usually sung singly and on different occasions. He believed himself to be a traditional singer, since he was thoroughly conversant with the traditional style. [4]
Yet Lönnrot was not really a traditional singer, in the strictest sense of the words, because he was not brought up in a traditional community and did not inherit the specific traditional songs of a specific group. He was an outsider, but, I hasten to add, he was a very special kind of outsider. He could, and did, create poems, and a poem, in an oral-traditional style. Formulaic analysis would surely show a very high percentage of formulas and formulaic expressions. In spite of the fact that everything in the Kalevala is traditional, the poem itself, as a whole, is an individual construct by a nontraditional person, a song that did not come into being, as Comparetti noted, under the normal circumstances of the tradition. Lönnrot was a man of some education, acquainted with books. He merged variants of songs from different regions, using his knowledge of many parts of the country, a knowledge no traditional singer of the "old days," or even of his own, would have had.
It is necessary to emphasize that it was not only Lönnrot's knowledge of the world of books that made him an outsider, but he also had access to manuscript collections containing variants of songs from various regions, as just outlined, and he chose elements from those variants. Both the availability of those variants and his manner of using them distinguished him from the traditional singer. Theoretically, a traditional singer could have traveled all over Finland and acquired acquaintance with the songs and variants of many regions, picking up what he heard {106|107} as he journeyed and keeping what he found to his liking. His sources in that case would have been live songs heard in living circumstances; they would not have been set down in manuscripts from which he might cull his favorites at leisure. He would have assimilated them under the normal associative processes of the tradition of which he was a part. Moreover, with his education, there is a possibility, even a probability, that Lönnrot's criteria for choice of elements would not be those dictated by the traditional, subconscious association of ideas and phrases, but by those inculcated by written literature.
It is remarkable that a number of other long epics are also, in reality, compilations of short narrative songs. Alexandra David-Neel collected Tibetan songs about Gesar of Ling and constructed an epic from them. [5] Daniel Biebuyck did the same for the Mwindo Epic of Zaire, the former Belgian Congo. [6] The Kara-Kirghiz epics of Manas and of Er Töshtük were formed from individual shorter songs. [7] In all these cases, the real epic songs were the shorter ones which were put together in sequence. In this respect, the Kalevala is quite different from either the South Slavic or the Homeric oral-traditional epics, which correspond rather, in spite of differences of length, to the single narrative songs of the Finnish tradition rather than to the Kalevala. On this subject also Comparetti is enlightening:
The Kalevala is a poem inferred and put together by Lönnrot from the whole of the popular, traditional poetry of the Finns … Hence the poem is unique; a fact which does not repeat itself in the poetry of any other people … The Homeric poetry, the Nibelungen, the Chanson de Roland are not unique. They have their places in a period of production of numerous large poems, or in one in which national poetry has already elaborated and matured much material for such poems … The epic songs of other peoples who never reached the point of having large poems, as, for instance, the Russians, Servians, Kelts, Siberian Tatars, ancient Scandinavians and others, do not converge towards one poem; but if ever they reached or should reach the maturity of large compositions they would give many poems of different subjects. [8] {107|108}
It is necessary to add that the Serbian tradition to which Comparetti refers actually did produce songs of several thousands of lines, comparable, for example, to the length of those in the Old French tradition. Most of these Serbo-Croatian epics of such length belong to the Moslem singers in South Serbia, Bosnia, and Hercegovina, and until recently were not so well known as the shorter Christian songs. Curiously enough, the first publications of the Moslem songs were by Kosta Hörmann in 1888-89, and then by Luka Marjanović in 1898-99, at the very time when Comparetti was writing. The longest song published by Hörmann, however, had only 1,878 lines and the longest published by Marjanović had 1,862 lines. [9] The longest songs in the Milman Parry Collection at Harvard have 12,311 and 13,326 lines. These lengths are exceptional, but songs of 2,000 to 4,000 or 5,000 lines are not unusual.
In a number of instances in South Slavic literature a previously nonexistent long literary epic has been created by concatenating and expanding short oral-traditional published songs. For example, in the nineteenth century Vuk Stefanović Karadžić published in his classic collection of oral-traditional epic songs in Serbo-Croatian nine or ten short songs, more balladic in nature than epic, connected with the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 in which a Christian coalition under Prince Lazar was defeated by Turkish forces under Sultan Murat. Not one of those songs, however, related the central event of the battle, namely, the killing of Sultan Murat by the Serb Miloš Obilić. In 1974, when Živomir Mladenović and Vladan Nedić edited Karadžić's hitherto unpublished manuscripts, there came to light a version of the Battle of Kosovo with more than 2,434 lines, with a complete account of the battle, including the killing of Murat by Miloš. [10]
Karadžić's famous nineteenth-century Kosovo texts were not, as a matter of fact, the first recorded songs about the battle. Among our oldest manuscript collections from the eighteenth century there is a Kosovo song that also tells of the death of Murat at Miloš's hands. This bugarštica is thought by some scholars to be a written literary text rather than an oral-traditional epic. [11] However, it is not of epic length, having only 253 lines. There are also Kosovo texts in the unpublished collections made by Vuk Vrčević in the middle of the nineteenth century, some of {108|109} which seem to be of the same kind, although they, too, are not very long. [12]
It is noteworthy, however, that long, written epics of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 were composed during the nineteenth century, and later, using the shorter songs from published or unpublished collections from traditional singers, including the Vuk Karadžić collection of oral tradition epic songs, although Karadžić himself made no such longer songs from his materials. In 1927 one of these, by Sr[eten] J. Stojković, appeared in a sixth edition. [13] Unlike Lönnrot, Stojković did not himself collect any songs. He simply assembled and arranged songs already collected, composing some transitional passages himself—as did Lönnrot. Like Lönnrot, he produced an epic, which he called "national, " but which was his own creation, not an oral-traditional epic.
It is clear from these efforts to produce long epic songs, that one of the most important factors in the minds of those who created them was length; an epic poem was thought to be long by definition. Had Lönnrot not had such epics as the Homeric poems in his mind, he would not have striven for a long song (see Appendix 1 at the end of this chapter). Like others before and after him, he thought of an epic as a long narrative poem recounting in a high style the deeds of heroes of the past. This concept of epic was derived from a consideration of the Homeric poems and of Vergil's Aeneid.
The length of the Homeric poems, however, may well be due to the role of writing in their creation at the moment, or during the hours and days when Homer dictated them to a scribe. [14] It is very likely, I believe, that Homer never sang the songs of the return of Odysseus from Troy or of the wrath of Achilles at the great length in which they appear in our Iliad and Odyssey. Like the Kalevala they were special poems in their composition. But the manner of composition of the Homeric poems was far different from that of the Kalevala. Homer was a bona fide {109|110} traditional singer who had sung many songs many times in a tradition of singers like himself and songs like his. He expanded two of the songs in his normal repertory, when he dictated them. He did not stitch songs together to make his "monumental" songs, but he composed them in the manner of a living tradition such as those of the Slavs, which on occasion "mix" songs in order to create other, often carefully unified, songs. This is a different process, and one that has not yet been adequately described, from that of Lönnrot in compiling the Kalevala. The Homeric poems, on the contrary, were composed, I believe, in dictation in the same way in which Avdo Međedović's The Wedding of Smailagić Meho was composed in dictation.
In composing the Kalevala Lönnrot gained length in various ways. One of the most striking was the inclusion of ritual songs, for example, incantations and wedding cycle songs. This type of expansion is absent in the South Slavic and in the Homeric songs. It is true that in describing the mourning of Achilles for Patroclus Homer tells how his mother Thetis and the Nereids came out of the sea to comfort him, and Thetis led in singing a threnody for Patroclus, the words of which Homer realistically gives us, in the manner of fullness of narration and description typical of Homeric epic. Homer includes other ritual laments in the Iliad. [15] They are not generic laments such as the generic wedding ritual songs in the Kalevala, which are independent songs.
Although there are scenes in some of the South Slavic heroic songs which could serve as background for the singing of ritual or lyric songs, the songs themselves that might accompany such rituals are not actually inserted into the epic, as are those set into the Kalevala by Lönnrot. For example, some epic songs begin with a group of youths and maidens going to harvest grain in a field near the border with the enemy's country. [16] There are many traditional harvest songs, and it would have been quite appropriate to insert them into the epics, but they were not incorporated, either entire or partially, into the epic songs. Similarly, in South Slavic epic song there are many heroic tales of bride capture that end with an elaborate wedding, but one does not find any wedding ritual songs included. [17] {110|111}
In the Kalevala Lönnrot on occasion inserted separate stories, such as the tragic one of Kullervo, thereby interrupting the flow of another narrative. Even though the events of Kullervo's life are intertwined with that of Ilmarinen, since he eventually murders Ilmarinen's wife, the prophecy of a heroic life for the child Kullervo is inconsistent with the boy's actual future. The unusual results from the tasks that he performs so badly are, in other contexts, indicative of a glorious life; the joinings are not felicitous. In the Odyssey Homer tells, through the Phaeacian bard, the story of Ares and Aphrodite. Like the laments of which I spoke earlier, that tale is the result of Homer's desire to tell the story fully. It is not an interruption but a lingering over the details of a scene. On the other hand, Homer interrupts the forward movement of the Telemachy, which is sometimes thought of as a kind of preface to the whole poem, to recount the story of Odysseus, whose adventures in turn are held up at one point for him to recapitulate everything that happened to him up to the time of the telling. But these strands of narrative are related and the juxtaposition of the several portions is the product of a particular technique of narration. The Kullervo poems, on the other hand, are not intimately related to the other narratives in the Kalevala. The many deceptive stories in the Odyssey are important, integral elements in the main narrative of Odysseus's return. Such stories are found in abundance in South Slavic return songs as well. But they are a different matter from an inserted ritual, lyric, or narrative songs such as those which are so common in the Kalevala.
The short Finnish songs, even the narrative ones, are more comparable to the South Slavic "women's songs" than to the South Slavic epics. This is especially true of the Finnish lyric and ritual songs, such as the charms and songs used in the ceremonial acts and speeches attendant upon weddings. For example, South Slavic women's songs have a rich cycle of ritual songs associated with weddings, including the lament of the bride on leaving her home, instructions for the bride from her mother, and so forth. These separately are like the corresponding Finnish songs. They exist independently, but they are not included in epic texts. Here is an example from the South Slavic wedding cycle. [18]
Sunce mi je na zahodu, The sun is setting,
Hoće da zađe, It will set, {111|112}
Hoće da zađe. It will set.
I devojka na pohodu, The maiden is leaving,
Hoće da pođe, She will leave,
Hoće da pođe. She will leave.
Žali oca na pohodu, She is sorry for her father as she leaves,
Oće da pođe, She will leave,
Oće da pođe. She will leave.
Žali majku na pohodu, She is sorry for her mother as she leaves,
Oće da pođe, She will leave,
Oće da pođe. She will leave.
Žali seju na pohodu, She is sorry for her sister as she leaves,
Oće da pođe, She will leave,
Oće da pođe. She will leave.
Žali brata na pohodu, She is sorry for her brother as she leaves,
Neće da pođe, She won’t leave,
Neće da pođe. She won’t leave.
Za svekrvu upituje, She asks about her mother-in-law,
Hoće da pođe, She will leave,
Hoće da pođe. She will leave.
Variants of this song add a number of other members of the family, whom the bride is sorry to have to leave. Here is another example. [19]
Odvoji se devojka od tatka, The maiden is separated from her father,
Odvoji se devojka od majke, The maiden is separated from her mother,
Odvoji se devojka od braće, The maiden is separated from her brothers,
Odvoji se devojka od sestri, The maiden is separated from her sisters,
Odvoji se devojka od roda, The maiden is separated from her family.
Svoga roda i rodbine svoje. Her family and her kin. {112|113}
Ona kreće tekne u tudjine. She leaves for someone else's home.
Tudjeg tatka tatkom zove, She calls father someone else's father,
On je ćerkom ne nazivlje. He does not call her daughter.
Tudju majku majkom zove, She calls mother someone else's mother,
Ona je ćerkom ne nazivlje. She does not call he daughter.
Tudjeg brata bracom zove, She calls brother someone else's brother,
On je sejom ne nazivlje. He does not call her sister.
Tudju ćerku sejom zove, She calls sister someone else's daughter,
Ona je sejom ne nazivlje. She does not call her sister.
Tudjeg roda rodom zove, She calls family someone else's family,
Tudjeg roda i rodbina, Someone else's family and kin,
Ona je rodom ne nazivlje. They do not call her family.
The ritual songs in the Kalevala are long, having been expanded by Lönnrot, so I have chosen an example from the Proto-Kalevala. [20]
The poor girl sighed deeply, ‖ sighed deeply, gasped;
sorrow weighed on her heart, ‖ tears came to her eyes,
she uttered a word, spoke thus: ‖ "Now I am really setting out from here,
from this lovely home, ‖ from the house acquired by my father,
from my mother's dancing ground. ‖ I thank you, father,
for my former life, ‖ for the lunches of days gone by,
for the best snacks. ‖ I thank you, mother,
for rocking me when young, ‖ for always washing my head,
for suckling me earlier, ‖ for your sweet milk.
I thank the whole family, ‖ all the companions I grew up with. ..."
Lönnrot also added to the length of his new poem by expansion of episodes and songs from within, a method used by both Homer and the {113|114} South Slavic singers. This element is so clear in all three traditions that it seems superfluous to illustrate it.
In sum, both the Kalevala and the South Slavic epic songs, different as they are from one another, have something to teach us about the Homeric poems. Of the two, the Slavic tradition is closer in type to the Homeric poems than is the Finnish Kalevala. In both the Slavic and the Homeric traditions we find independent, integral songs of some length. If there were separate songs telling the story of Telemachus, or of the wanderings of Odysseus, apart from the Homeric Odyssey—and I believe there were—they were integrated into the long Homeric poem rather than concatenated in Kalevala style.

Part II

I am concerned here with the method of composition of the shorter songs of the Kalevala. Fortunately, the shorter songs have published variants, and we have also the forms of them that occur in Lönnrot's own three versions of the Kalevala, namely, the Proto-Kalevala, the Old Kalevala, and the [New] Kalevala. [21] The songs from which the Kalevala was made were shorter than the South Slavic epic songs or the Homeric. They did not attain great length, by which I mean several thousands of lines. This has been true of traditional songs in some parts of the South Slavic terrain, for example in Bulgaria and in general in the Christian songs among the Serbs. In comparing the three traditions, one must keep in mind that one is not properly comparing the whole Kalevala with the Iliad or Odyssey, but the Finnish songs that were used in the Kalevala with the Homeric poems and with individual songs among the South Slavs. Although we do not have variants from ancient Greece of the Homeric songs, we have variants from South Slavic and from Finnish. The variants tell us how the traditions worked.
In his Preface to the New Kalevala Lönnrot gave his version of the way in which songs were transmitted.
As for the authenticity of the songs, the matter runs about as follows: At a feast or some other social gathering someone hears a new song and tries to remember it. Then on another occasion when this person himself is now {114|115} singing it before a new audience, he remembers quite exactly the material proper rather than its narrative word for word in every detail. Those passages which he does not remember in just the original words he tells in his own, in places perhaps better even than they were before. And if some rather insignificant incident among them is left out, another can take its place out of the singer's own head. In the same way, then, second and third persons who hear it proceed to sing it and the song is changed, changed rather in individual words and details than in the material itself.
This is a description by someone who knew the tradition very well and it is a very perspicacious explanation. I believe that by the "someone" he speaks of who hears a new song he means a singer, that is, someone within the singing tradition itself. Otherwise the singer would not be able to compose "new" lines and passages. Lönnrot continues in a remarkable way:
Parallel to this kind of versified story there runs, however, another which keeps closer to the old words and their linking together, namely, a child's learning from its parents from generation to generation. But at the same time that this prevents the other migratory sister-song from deviating too far, it must itself at times follow the other lest it be left far behind. [22]
Lönnrot recognized two kinds of transmittal, one closer to the "original" (my quotation marks) and one more removed. The first recipient, it would seem, tried to memorize, that is to get by rote every word through mimicking, as children learn from parents. The other recipient, already, I assume, a competent singer, remembered, rather than consciously memorized, the "material," including, presumably, some of the words, naturally enough, but in reality he retold the story in his own way. It is extremely important to realize the distinction between memorizing, with its conscious attempt to reproduce every word of an "original," which must be fixed for that process to be meaningful, and remembering, the basic, normal process of recall, which is more potent, I believe, than it is generally credited with being. It is through learning the art of verse making and through remembering given, discrete, units of composition, rather than through word-for-word memorization, that the South Slavic songs were both composed and transmitted. I believe that it was {115|116} in this way that the epic songs in ancient Greek tradition were transmitted from one generation to another.
One of the methods of composition of the Kalevala songs which aids in transmission is the repetition of a memorable pattern. An excellent example of what I have in mind is found in Songs 15, 16, and 17 in Finnish Folk Poetry, Epic. [23] The songs do not tell exactly the same story, but each has at its beginning a scene in which a girl, bleaching clothes, spies a boat approaching, and asks the boatman where he is going and why. Two or more lying answers are given and finally the truth is told.
Song 15, "The Sampo IV," begins with a stanza devoted to the departure of Väinäimöinen for Pohjola to woo the maid. The second stanza is on the left in the following quotation. The opening stanza of Song 16, "The Courtship I," is on the right:
The girl Anni, matchless maid Annikki the island maid
  smith Ilmorini's sister
was washing her little things went off to do her washing
bleaching what she'd rinsed on the shore of the blue sea
at the end of the long quay at the end of Laisa Quay
when she saw a shoal of fish.  
Finally, for comparison, on the right in the following quotation we have the opening stanza of Song 17, "The Courtship II," still keeping the second stanza of Song 15 on the left.
The girl Anni, matchless maid The girl of night, maid of dusk
was washing her little things was rinsing clothes she had washed
bleaching what she'd rinsed what she had bleached was bleaching
at the end of the long quay at the end of the long quay
  a bright-carved bat in her hand
when she saw a shoal of fish.  
The singers of these three songs are not the same. [24] Without another {116|117} text from the same singers one cannot tell whether they held them in a fixed form in their own mind. But one can say that even the lines that are similar in meaning could not corne from a fixed "original" text. The line "at the end of the long quay" is a fixed traditional line, a whole-line formula. In Song 16 it seems to be adapted to its immediate context through substitution of the name of the quay for the epithet, but there the English translation leads us astray. In Finnish the lines are different:
Song 15 pitam portahan nenassa.
Song 16 Laisan laiturin nenalla.
Song 17 pitkan portahan nenassa.
Let us pursue the textual comparison of the three songs. Song 15 continues on the left and Song 16 on the right.
  She spied a black speck on the sea
  something bluish on the waves
  herself put this into words:
  "If you are my father's boat
  turn homeward, turn to your house
  away from other havens!
  Or else if my brother's craft
  away from other havens!
  Or yet Väinämöini's boat
  bring yourself here for a talk!
"If you are a shoal of fish  
then away with you, swim off!  
If you are a flock of birds If a darling flock of ducks
Then begone with you, fly off! spread out into flight!
If you are a water-rock Or again a water-stone
then roll off in the water! draw the water over you!"
If you're old Väinämöine  
bring yourself here for a talk  
come here for a word!”  
The old Väinämöine came It was Väinämöini's boat
took himself there for a talk took itself there for a talk.
went there for a word.  
The foregoing passage does not have an equivalent in Song 17, which continues simply with:
A red boat went by:
one side of the boat was red. {117|118}
There follows immediately the conversation in which the questions and answers concern the destination of the boat and/or its occupant, which we shall consider shortly.
Typical of versions of the same theme by different singers, our texts of the girl's words exhibit variant readings where the subjects are the same. One of the items concerns a flock of birds, another, a water-rock. Here, in Finnish, are the four lines involved; the first two tell of the birds, the last two of the water-rock. Song 15 is on the left, Song 16 is on the right:
Jos lienet lintuine karja Olit armas allikarja
niin sie lendoho leviete! sina lentohon levie
Jos lienet vezikivoine Elikkä vesikivoni
niin sie vezin vierekkänä! vesi peälläsi vetähys!"
If you are a flock of birds If a darling flock of ducks
Then begone with you, fly off! spread out into flight!
If you are a water-rock Or again a water-stone
then roll off in the water! draw the water over you!"
I have underlined the words that are alike in both versions, except for morphological differences. The singers were certainly not going back to the same memorized "original"; the similarities come from the traditional subject matter. Memorization is not needed; one need only remember "flocks," "fly off!" "water-stone," "water." The alliteration of "lendoho leviete!" and "vezikivoine," "vezin vierekkänä!" helps in the remembering as well.
The same is true of the final words of the girl's speech in Song 15 and their corresponding lines in Song 16. Here they are in Finnish:
Jos lienet vanha Väimämöine Eli pursi Vaïnaïmöisen
pakinoilla painustoate sie painu pakinoilla!
sanomilla soahustoate!"  
If you're old Väinämöine Or yet Vänämöini's boat
bring yourself here for a talk, bring yourself here for a talk!
come here for a word!"  
These lines are, of course, repeated in the description of the action after the girl's words: {118|119}
Tuli vanha Vainaimöine Se oli pursi Väinäimöisen
pakinoilla painustihi se om painu pakinoilla.
sanomilla soahustihi.  
The old Väinämöine came It was Väinämöini's boat
took himself there for a talk took itself there for a talk.
went there for a word.  
In short, the elements that remain textually alike in all versions of a theme, that is, a repeated passage, are the essential ideas as expressed in the traditional word combinations, parts of lines, lines, or groups of lines, especially couplets, that singers have used for generations. These are adapted to the context of the particular song being sung. The similarities are thus the natural ones stemming from the narration of the subject of the passage in traditional garb; they are not the result of memorization of a fixed text, a process which could not have produced the patterns of repetition outlined here.
What we have seen in these examples from the Kalevala songs in Finnish is demonstrably true as well of both South Slavic and Homeric oral-traditional narrative song. A single illustration from each will have to suffice, but they can easily be multiplied. First, an example from a South Slavic "return song" at the moment when the hero, who has been long in prison in an enemy city, asks a recently captured prisoner for news of home. [25] Here are two versions of the same passage from the same singer, the one on the left collected November 24, and the one on the right November 20, 1934.
"Sedi lj' moja kula na ćenaru? "Sedi lj' moja na ćenaru kula?
Je li' se moja kula podurvala, Da se nije kula oburvala,
Alj' se moja kula harap učinela? Alj' je kula jošte na nogama?
Je lj' mi živa ostarela majka? Je lj' mi živa u ođaku majka,
Je lj' mi živa svijet mijenila? Alj' je majka svijet mijenila?
  A sedi lj' joj Huso kahveđija?
  Čini lj' staroj hizmet do odjaka?
A sedi lj' mi sestra neudata, A sedi lj' mi sestra neudata,
Sestra Fata u ođaku mome? Sestra Fata Đulić bajraktara?
Čeka lj' brata Đulić bajraktara? {119|120}  
  A sedi lj' mi vijernica ljuba?
  Da se nije ljuba isprosila?"
A sedi lj' mi dorat u podrumu?  
Držu lj' konja dobro u podrumu?  
Dalj' mi Huso sedi kahveđija?  
Čini lj' staroj hizmet u odaji?"  
"Is my house standing on the border? "Is my house standing on the border?
Has my house fallen in, My house has not fallen in?
Or has it been destroyed? Is the house still standing?
Is my old mother alive? Is my mother alive by the hearth?
Is she alive, or has she changed worlds? Has my mother changed worlds?
  Is Huso the steward there?
  Does he serve the old woman by the hearth?
Is my sister unmarried, Is my sister unmarried,
My sister Fata by the hearth? Fata, sister of Đulić the standard-bearer?
Does she await her brother Đulić the standard bearer?  
  Is my true-love there?
  My true-love has not been betrothed?"
Is my chestnut horse in the stable?  
Do they care well for the horse in the stable?  
Is Huso the steward there?  
Does he serve the old woman in her chamber?"  
After the answers to these questions have been given, the hero continues:
"Sedi lj' moja vijernica ljuba?  
Da se ljuba nije isprosila?  
  “A sedi lj' mi dorat u podrumu, {120|121}
  Sedi lj' dorat u toplom podrumu?
  Hranu lj' dora konja mojega,
  A goru lj' mu četiri svijeće;
  Sve mu goru danjem i po noći,
  Ka' sto ga je Đulić naučijo?
Is my true-love there?  
My true-love has not been betrothed?"  
  Is my chestnut horse in the stable?
  Is the chestnut horse in the warm stable?
  Are they feeding my chestnut horse?
  Are the four candles burning for him?
  Burning day and night,
  As Đulić taught him to expect?"
There are at least two things that we can learn from a study of those two passages. First, I believe that it is clear that the singer had not memorized a fixed original. Indeed, there never was a fixed original. Yet the text may seem to be amazingly close, so close that in the minds of some the closeness can be explained only by the existence of a fixed original that has been memorized. That leads to the second fact, which we can learn from studying these passages and others like them. They consist of easily remembered, more or less stable, units of two or three lines. Those lines may have one or more lines added to them in elaboration, as the third line in both passages, or the couplet in the passage on the left asking about Djulić's sister. In the question about the chestnut horse in the passage on the right the elaboration is greater and includes a group of three lines at the very end, which themselves form a unit of composition used elsewhere. I should like to suggest that these units of composition are the ones that are more overtly in the mind of the singer than are the individual formulas that make them up, important though {121|122} they be. It is these units, too, from which "themes" are constructed, as the foregoing passages illustrate.
Let me turn, finally, to an example from the Homeric poems. In recounting the speeches in the assemblies of men or of gods in the Iliad Homer has several ways of noting the reactions of the assembly to a speech that has just been made. In three cases he reports that the men shouted, and in several instances the words of the speaker were met with silence. After he has indicated the reaction, Homer has a line leading to another speech. Two of the three shouting passages begin with the same couplet, and vary only in the third line, which introduces the next speaker. Here is the couplet:
῝Ως ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἐπίαχον υἷες Ἀχαιῶν,
μῦθον ἀγασσάμενοι Διομήδεος ἱπποδάμοιο.

So he spoke, and all the sons of the Achaians shouted acclaim,
the word of Diomedes, breaker of horses. [26]
The third shouting passage differs from this couplet in its first and second lines:
῝Ως ἔφατ’, Ἀργεῖοι δὲ μέγ’ ἴαχον, ἀμφὶ δὲ νῆες
σμερδαλέον κονάβησαν ἀϋσάντων ὑπ’ Ἀχαιῶν,

So he spoke, and the Argives shouted aloud, and about them
the ships echoed terribly to the roaring Achaians. [27]
The third and fourth lines of the preceding passage are:
μῦθον ἐπαινήσαντες Ὀδυσσῆος θείοιο.
τοῖσι δὲ καὶ μετέειπε Γερήνιος ἱππότα Νέστωρ·

as they cried out applause to the word of god-like Odysseus.
Now among them spoke the Gerenian horseman, Nestor: [28] {122|123}
Note that these two lines are variants of the second and third lines of the other two passages:
μῦθον ἀγασσάμενοι Διομήδεος ἱπποδάμοιο.
καὶ τòτ’ ἄρ’ Ἰδαῖον προσέφη κρείων Ἀγαμέμνων.
τοῖσι δ’ ἀνιστάμενος μετεφώνεεν ἱππότα Νέστωρ·

the word of Diomedes, breaker of horses.
and now powerful Agamemnon spoke to Idaios:
and now Nestor the horseman stood forth among them and spoke to them: [29]
When the reaction to a speech is silence, the passages (there are five of them) bridging that speech to the next begin with the line:
῝Ως ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ,

So he spoke, and all of them stayed stricken to silence. [30]
Four of the passages end with a line introducing another speech by the same speaker. In three of them the speaker is Diomedes, and the line is the same:
ὀψὲ δὲ δὴ μετέειπε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Διομήδης·

but now at long last Diomedes of the great war cry addressed them: [31]
In the fourth the speaker is Athena, and the line is varied to accommodate her name:
ὀψὲ δὲ δὴ μετέειπε θεὰ γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη·

But now at long last the goddess grey-eyed Athene answered him: [32]
In the fifth case, although the next speaker is Diomedes, he is not {123|124} resuming after the preceding speech, and the line is slightly different. It is like Iliad 2.336 in the shouting passages, except for the change of speakers:
τοῖσι δὲ καὶ μετέειπε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Διομήδης·

but now Diomedes of the great war cry spoke forth among them: [33]
In two cases there are only two lines in the passage, and they have already been discussed. In the remaining three cases there are one or two lines of varying content between the beginning and the ending lines. It is to be noted, however, that the intervening lines have relatives in the other passages, both those with shouting and those with silence. Here, in their entirety, are the three cases in question:
῝Ως ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ,
μῦθον ἀγασσάμενοι μάλα γὰρ κρατερῶς ἀγόρευσεν.
ὀψὲ δὲ δὴ μετέειπε θεὰ γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη·

So he spoke, and all of them, stayed stricken to silence,
at his word, for indeed he had spoken to them very strongly.
But now at long last the goddess grey-eyed Athene answered him:

῝Ως ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ,
δὴν δ’ ἄνεῳ ἦσαν τετιηότες υἷες Ἀχαιῶν·
ὀψὲ δὲ δὴ μετέειπε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Διομήδης·

So he spoke, and all of them stayed stricken to silence.
For some time the sons of the Achaians said nothing, in sorrow;
but at long last Diomedes of the great war cry addressed them:

῝Ως ἔφαθ’, οἱ δ’ ἄρα πάντες ἀκὴν ἐγένοντο σιωπῇ,
μῦθον ἀγασσάμενοι· μάλα γὰρ κρατερῶς ἀγόρευσε.
δὴν δ’ ἄνεῳ ἦσαν τετιηότες υῖες Ἀχαιῶν·
ὀψὲ δὲ δὴ μετέειπε βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Διομήδης·

So he spoke, and all of them stayed stricken to silence
at his words. He had spoken to them very strongly.
For a long time the sons of the Achaians said nothing, in sorrow, {124|125}
but at long last Diomedes of the great war cry spoke to them: [34]
The study of these passages indicates clearly that Homer, like the Finnish and South Slavic traditional poets in the passages from them analyzed earlier, had in his mind a more or less stable unit of composition, with some lines very stable but others flexible enough to fit the contexts in which his narrative expressed itself.
As I have already pointed out the Kalevala is unique, although the songs that went into its making were not. They were, indeed, like the South Slavic and the Homeric epics in that they had many variants, many other poems, or songs, around them. They were not isolated as is the Kalevala itself, a lone monument, without variants.
Yet, having said all that, the Kalevala songs are very likely far closer to tradition than those of many edited and published oral-traditional epic texts. The editing process itself, except when it limits itself to correcting such things as spelling or grammatical mistakes, argues the existence of two poetics at odds with one another. When one of the finest of the Croatian collectors of oral-traditional epics at the end of the last century edited his carefully written-down texts for publication he changed them. He standardized the normal variations of metrics, and in many cases he eliminated the regular repetitions which are so much a part of the oral-traditional style but which grated against Marjanović's literary sensibilities, in spite of his profound acquaintance with the oral-traditional epic style. We can see from his edited manuscripts, copies of which are in the Parry Collection at Harvard, exactly what he disapproved of. Sometimes he omitted whole passages or wrote new ones to be inserted into the text. The editor and the singer had different ideas of what constituted acceptable poetics. I have not seen any better proof of the existence of two poetics, one for oral-traditional poetry and the other for written literary poetry.

Part III

There are two main patterns of story in the Kalevala. One is that of gaining a bride, the other is the stealing of the Sampo (a magic mill {125|126} grinding grain). Clearly the two patterns have much in common. The Trojan legend is concerned with the regaining of a bride, although that is only part of the background of the Homeric poems, not their main focus of action, which is on Achilles in the Iliad and on Odysseus in the Odyssey. The Odyssey is a "return song," to which is joined a story of an initiatory hero setting out on a journey to find his father, and a series of incidents in a tale of wanderings. Whereas there is an abundance of "return" stories in the South Slavic tradition, as well as many tales of initiatory heroes setting out to find their missing fathers or uncles, there are no "wanderings," insofar as I can recall, in South Slavic epic.
Comparetti has analyzed and described the composition of the Kalevala in detail. [35] In what follows I shall examine some of the patterns of narrative in that poem to see whether they agree with the traditional patterns in the Homeric poems and in the South Slavic epics with which I am acquainted. I shall first consider the "wedding" sequences. In spite of the differences in the traditions involved, one might expect that some patterning, different though it might be from the Homeric or South Slavic songs, would emerge in repeated traditional sequences in the Kalevala. I will thus be treating Lönnrot's epic poem, for the sake of the experiment, as if it were itself an oral-traditional epic.
Väinämöinen is twice offered a bride. In the first case, that of Joukahainen's sister, the pattern is as follows: (1) a bride is offered to the hero by someone else (Joukahainen) under duress; (2) the bride refuses to marry the hero (because he is too old); (3) the bride kills herself (by drowning); (4) Väinämöinen returns without a bride.
In the second case, when the eagle carries Väinänmöinen to North Farm, the pattern is in part repeated: (1) a bride is offered to the hero by someone else (the mistress of North Farm) for a price (forging the Sampo); (2) the offered bride refuses to marry the hero by setting three impossible tasks, two of which Väinämöinen accomplishes, although he fails in the third, building and launching a boat. The third element in the pattern (the bride kills herself) is missing in this instance; (4) Väinämöinen returns without a bride, although he still has the task set by the mistress of North Farm, yet to be fulfilled, namely, to forge a Sampo. The patterns of gaining a bride in the traditions of ancient Greece and of the South Slavs do not fit Väinämöinen's marital adventures, at least not up to this point, although the element of setting tests or a series of tasks {126|127} for the bridegroom is familiar enough. The best-known instance in South Slavic is found in the "Wedding of Sibinjanin Janko," in which Janko is assisted by his nephew Sekul, in disguise, in performing the various feats required, including shooting an arrow through an apple placed on a spear, jumping over nine horses, and recognizing his bride (whom he has never seen before) among nine maidens. [36] One is reminded of the wooing of Brunhild by Gunter in the Nibelungenlied, in which the bridegroom is aided by Siegfried in his Tarnkappe.
We find the wooing pattern again in the exploits of Ilmarinen: (1) a bride is offered to him by the mistress of North Farm (for forging the Sampo—in Väinämöinen's place); (2) the bride demurred; (3) again the third element is missing, since the maid of North Farm does not kill herself; but (4) Ilmarinen goes home empty-handed.
There is indeed a repeated pattern here, which we might call that of "the jilted bridegroom," an unheroic sequence, the hero being frustrated. Either the girls are unwilling, or the hero cannot meet the requirements set by the girl! While I do not know this pattern in South Slavic epic, it is reminiscent, as is the setting of impossible tasks, of English ballads such as "The Elfin Knight," in which the suitor is an otherworldly figure who seeks to lure the girl into the world of magic and death. By setting him impossible tasks, she is able to save herself. [37] There may be some ambiguity in the pattern in the Kalevala caused by this suggestion, because both Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen are certainly associated with the world of shamanism.
The impasse between Väinämöinen and Ilmarinen is solved by one more occurrence of "the jilted bridegroom" pattern for Väinämöinen, and a true wedding sequence for Ilmarinen, who finally wins the maid of North Farm, after performing dangerous tasks set by the mistress of North Farm. The element of testing the bridegroom occurred before, of course, with Väinämöinen, who failed the test!
The "successful bridegroom" pattern, if we may call it that for the moment, is (1) someone offers the hero a bride; (2) a series of tests is imposed on the hero, which he succeeds in performing—sometimes with outside help; (3) the hero wins the bride.
Interestingly enough, in his wooing of Kylliki, Lemminkainen is also {127|128} a "successful bridegroom, " but in his case no tests are imposed on him. That element is replaced by a straightforward "abduction of the bride."
Lönnrot accomplishes the transition to the adventures of Lemminkainen in the direct way in which the South Slavic singers make the same kind of transition, that is, by saying simply: "It is time to speak of Ahti, to go on about the rascal.” [38]
Now on a certain day ‖ on a certain evening,
the maidens were sporting, ‖ the fair ones dancing
secretly on the land side of the island, ‖ on a lovely heath,
Kylliki supreme over the others, ‖ most famous flower of the Island.
The ruddy-cheeked rascal came along, ‖ reckless Lemminkainen drove
his own stallion, ‖ his choice colt
to the middle of the playing field ‖ of the fair one's dance.
He snatched Kylliki into the sleigh, ‖ dragged the maiden into his sled,
put her on his fur rug, ‖ tied her to the slatted bottom of his sleigh.
He struck the horse with the whip, ‖ cracked the lash, then started sliding along.
In South Slavic epic it is not uncommon to find the hero—or sometimes the villain—riding up to a group of maidens dancing the kolo, with the heroine at the head of the dance, and taking her onto his horse, tying her three times to him with his long sash, and galloping home. If this pattern were being followed in the Kalevala, one would expect pursuit to complete the pattern, or at least a later rescue.
Lemminkainen's journey to North Farm for a bride follows the pattern of the "unsuccessful"—but not "jilted"—bridegroom, but there are some differences in the pattern from what we have seen so far. (1) The hero seeks a bride (he is not offered one by someone else); (2) he is asked to accomplish three tasks, two of which he does successfully; (3) in doing the third task (shooting the swan of Tuonela) he is killed (by Märkähattu, Soppy Hat), but brought back to life—and to home—by his mother. This wedding trip of Lemminkainen is like that of Väinämöinen, in which he is unsuccessful in accomplishing the third of the tasks set him (the building and launching of a boat), but the tests for Lemminkainen were imposed not by the maid of North Farm, but by her mother. Setting tests of the bridegroom, as has already been remarked, {128|129} is common, and has its place in ritual as well, but it is not common for the hero to be unsuccessful in overcoming all obstacles. Ritually this would not be proper.
These, then, are the "wedding songs" in the Kalevala. They agree in part with traditional patterns elsewhere, but disagree in some striking ways. The main difference is in the element of frustration of the bridegroom, which gives to some of the hero-bridegrooms in the Kalevala a note of pathos, a feature that is missing in the South Slavic epics.
There are no "wanderings" in South Slavic epic, but there are parallels to some of the single incidents in the wanderings of Odysseus, such as encounters with man-eating monsters. The adventures of Lemminkainen in the Kalevala come close to forming a series of "wanderings," when the hero sets out to hide on the island where his father had once hidden. In the Proto-Kalevala and in the Old Kalevala he returns home directly from the island, but in the New Kalevala he is shipwrecked and swims to another island, where the lady of the island provides him with a boat, with which he reaches home. There is something Odyssean about the sequence: (1) island of women, (2) acquiring a boat (by building it), (3) shipwreck, and (4) arriving at an island where a woman provides a boat to take the hero home. [39]
Then reckless Lemminkainen ‖ proceeds on the blue sea.
He proceeded one day, proceeded a second. ‖ On the third day, indeed,
a wind got to blowing, ‖ the horizon to rumbling,
a great northwest wind, ‖ a strong northeast wind blew.
It caught one plank, caught a second, ‖ it capsized the whole boat.
Then reckless Lemminkainen ‖ fell straight into the water,
began to row with his fingers, ‖ to paddle with his feet.
After he had swum a night 'and a day, ‖ after he had paddled along quite a distance,
he saw a little cloud, ‖ a cloud patch in the northwest.
That indeed changed into land, ‖ became a headland.
He went onto the headland into a house, ‖ found the mistress baking,
the daughters shaping loaves …
The gracious mistress ‖ went out to the storehouse,
sliced some butter in the storehouse, ‖ a sliver of pork;
she puts it to roast ‖ for the hungry man to eat,
brings beer in a stoup ‖ for the man who has been swimming to drink. {129|130}
Then she gave him a new vessel, ‖ a really well-equipped boat,
for the man to go to other lands, ‖ to proceed home.
One thinks, of course, of Circe and Calypso, and even of the Phaeacians. In fact, since the final incident is not in the earlier versions of the Kalevala, I wonder if Lönnrot, in inserting it in the New Kalevala, was influenced by Homer's Odyssey.
In addition to the narrative patterns mentioned so far, there are journeys to the world of the dead in both the Kalevala and the Odyssey, different though they be. Väinämöinen seeks special, magical knowledge, the words of a charm, in several places, among which is Tuonela, the Land of the Dead. There he is almost ensnared, but he is unsuccessful there in his quest for charms. Not until he encounters Antero Vipunen and penetrates to his interior, is he able to obtain the words he needs. The correspondence between this episode and Odysseus's consultation with Teiresias has been noted by Martti Haavio. [40]
There are actually two episodes in the Odyssey in which someone seeks, and obtains, information. They are multiforms of one another. In the first, Menelaus inquired of the Old Man of the Sea how he could leave Egypt and continue on his journey home. The scene is not in the Land of the Dead, to be sure, but it is in the magic land of Egypt. In the second episode, just referred to, Odysseus questioned Teiresias, who was really in the Land of the Dead, about many things, and he learned much even without asking, including his own fated death. As a matter of fact, Väinämöinen's journey to Tuonela has little in common with Odysseus's journey to the Land of the Dead; it is more nearly akin to the episodes in which Odysseus is almost killed, or detained forever in the other world, from which, however, he manages to escape.
The world of the dead, as such, like the "wanderings," is missing in the South Slavic tradition, but there are journeys into "other worlds" in the Balkan Slavic epics. In the other world, heroes seek, and usually gain, brides, horses, and artifacts; and from the other world they rescue people who are being held there against their will. Such a world is usually the world of the enemy — appropriately enough, because it is truly a land of death. One must pass barriers and guardians, which are sometimes monstrous, before one can enter it, and at the barriers, or in the foreign land itself, the hero has sometimes to hide his identity {130|131} through disguise. He is asked to identify himself, and his answers are often deceptive at first, and tests are made prior to his recognition by a friend in the enemy land. Such questions are reminiscent of those put to Väinämöinen at the approaches to Tuonela.
The fundamental difference between the Finnish tradition and those of the Slavic Balkans and of ancient Greece is the prevalence and force of shamanism in the Kalevala and in the songs and their variants that went into its making. Heroism by magic spells rather than by swords and spears gives the Kalevala a very special atmosphere, and it is exciting to enter into that strange world.
It is useful and necessary to be aware of the similarities among traditions, to understand that traditions are not watertight compartments. But it is also important to comprehend the peculiar features of each tradition and to have as firm and sympathetic a grasp as possible of the details and meanings of the traditions in which one works. The haunting, tragic beauty of the Kalevala cannot be easily matched anywhere else. Lönnrot expressed in it, however, the same sense of human personal loss that one finds in the Iliad. The Kalevala also shares with it the ultimate sense of reconciliation with the reality that is symbolized by the fact that only portions of the Sampo can ever be possessed by any one people, ironical though it be that they were clever enough to create it.


The following two passages are taken from The Traditional Poetry of the Finns, by Domenico Comparetti, translated by Isabella M. Anderton (New York: Longmans Green, 1898). Appendix 1 is found on page 157, and Appendix 2 on page 9, note 1, of that work. In Appendix 1 the author being quoted is Elias Lönnrot himself from Helsingfors Litteraturbladet, 1849, page 16.

Appendix 1

"The order in which the singers chant their runes should certainly not be entirely overlooked. At the same time I have not thought well to attach too much importance to it, as it is a matter in which they differ much from each other. This very difference in the ordering of the runes confirmed me in the idea I had already conceived: that all runes of this {131|132} kind could be combined among themselves. For I had observed that the disposition adopted by one singer was not the same as that adopted by another; so that, after a great copying of runes recited by various singers, I found very few that had not been sung, by one or another, in various connections. I could not consider one singer's ordering of the runes as more original than that of another; but explained each case by the natural desire of man to bring order into his knowledge, a desire which produces differences according to the different conception of the individual singers. As a consequence, since none of the singers could compare with me in the mass of runes I had collected, I thought that I had the same right which I was convinced most singers assumed: the right, that is, of ordering the runes according as they best fitted into each other."

Appendix 2

"We may refer here to what Lönnrot wrote in this connection after the new edition of the Kalevala in Helsingfors Litteraturbladet, 1849, n. 1, p. 20: 'No discussion as to the mode of origin of the Homeric poems could ever have arisen had those who have written on this subject had the experience which I have acquired through the Finnish poems, of the influence of tradition on poetry. They would all have agreed that some poet first briefly sang contemporary events, and that tradition then expanded the songs and produced variants of them. He who afterwards collected these variants did much the same as I have done in ordering and weaving together those of the songs of the Kalevala; only I beg that no one take these words amiss, as though I wished to place my abilities or the subject I have treated on a par with that other collector and his work. The various dialectic forms which occur so often in the Homeric poems render impossible the belief that the latter were the work of one man or were handed down by tradition without many variants. He who orders and puts together these pieces of a cycle of songs must sometimes insert a connecting line, and I doubt not that such lines can be found, if we look for them, in the Homeric poems. I also have had to introduce some of them into the runes of the Kalevala; but it seemed to me, and to others also, that it would have been mere pedantry to draw attention to them, especially as they have nothing to do with the poem itself, and consist generally in such phrases as "He expressed himself in words and spoke thus" (Sanon virkkoi, noin nimesi), or, "Then he spoke and said" (Siita tuon sanokisi virkki). {132|133}


[ back ] * The original form of this paper was read at the International Folk Epic Conference at University College, Dublin, Ireland, September 2-6, 1985, and published in the proceedings of that conference, The Heroic Process: Form, Function and Fantasy in Folk Epic, edited by Bo Almquist, Séamus Ó Catháin, and Pádraig Ó Héalá (Dublin: Glendale Press, 1987).
[ back ] 1. Quoted from Lönnrot, 1963, Appendix I, Materials for the Study of the Kalevala, B, The Kalevala, 350.
[ back ] 2. Lönnrot, 1963, Appendix I, D, Lönnrot's Prefaces to the Kalevala, II, Preface (1835) to the Old Kalevala, 366.
[ back ] 3. Comparetti, 1898, 328.
[ back ] 4. Lönnrot, 1963, and see Appendixes 1 and 2 of this paper.
[ back ] 5. David-Neel and Lama Yongden, 1933.
[ back ] 6. Mwindo, 1969; and Biebuyck, 1978.
[ back ] 7. Examples of the "short" songs—some have more than 2,000 lines—about these two heroes can be found in German translation in Radloff, 1885. A composite epic of Manas can be seen in Russian translation in Manas, 1946, and one of Er Töshtük in French translation with introduction and notes in Boratav and Bazin, 1965.
[ back ] 8. Comparetti, 1898, 327-328.
[ back ] 9. Hörmann, 1933; Marjanović, 1898-99.
[ back ] 10. For the classical texts see Karadžić, 1958, nos. 44-52. For the long text see Mladenović and Nedić, 1974.
[ back ] 11. See Bogišić, 1878, nos. 1 and 2, pages 3-10, and Miletich, 1990.
[ back ] 12. Srpska akademija nauka, Belgrade, Vuk Vrčević Ms. Collection no. 62, vol. 1, no. 21; vol. 2, no. 14; vol. 3, nos. 1-3. For a study of these texts see Pešić, 1967. It is noteworthy that Vrčević's texts have affinities with an Albanian version collected by Elezović earlier in the 1900s. See Elezović, 1923, 54-67. See also Parry Text no. 650 (Milman Parry Collection, Widener Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.), a Serbo-Croatian version collected by Milman Parry in 1934 from Salih Ugljanin, a Yugoslav Albanian, in Novi Pazar. For more on these Kosovo texts and others see Lord, 1984.
[ back ] 13. Stojković, 1927.
[ back ] 14. See Lord, A., 1953, Chapter 2 in this volume.
[ back ] 15. E.g., in addition to the laments of Achilles and of his mother Thetis and the Nereids for Patroclus in Iliad 18.22-64, see especially Achilles's lament for Patroclus in 23.13-23 and the laments of Andromache and Hecuba for Hector in 24.723-760. For more on the ritual lament in ancient and modern Greek literature, oral and written, see Alexiou, 1974.
[ back ] 16. See "The Ragged Border Warrior Wins the Horses," in Parry, 1954, no. 17.
[ back ] 17. An excellent example of a song telling of the attaining of a bride by the hero, combined with an initiatory journey and a tale of succession, is Avdo Međedović's, "The Wedding of Smailagić Meho," Međedović, 1974a.
[ back ] 18. Milojević, 1870, vol. 2, no. 171, from Stana Stojanović of Prizren.
[ back ] 19. Ibid., no. 173, from Nikola Andrejević, priest, in Sretačka-sirinačka, a župa (a fertile, protected valley) on Mount Šar; he wrote it down from his brother's wife.
[ back ] 20. Lönnrot, 1963, lines 540-549 of Poem 8.
[ back ] 21. All three were translated into English by Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr.. See Lönnrot, 1963 and 1969.
[ back ] 22. Quoted from Lönnrot, 1963, Appendix I, D, III, Preface (1849) to the (New) Kalevala, 376.
[ back ] 23. Finnish Folk Poetry, Epic, 1977.
[ back ] 24. Ibid. Songs 15 and 16 are from A. A. Borenius's collection of 1872 and were written down in Archangel Karelia. Song 17 is from the collection of D. E. D. Europaeus of 1845, written down in North Karelia.
[ back ] 25. Parry, M., 1953, no. 4, lines 50-63, and no. 5, lines 33-43, 65-70.
[ back ] 26. Iliad 7.403-404. I follow Lattimore's translation except for the words between angular brackets.
[ back ] 27. Iliad 2.333-334.
[ back ] 28. Iliad 2.335-336.
[ back ] 29. Iliad 7.404-405, and 9.51-52. I follow Lattimore's translation except for the words between angular brackets.
[ back ] 30. Iliad 8.28; 7.398; 9.29; 9.693; and 10.218.
[ back ] 31. Iliad 7.399; 9.31; 9.696.
[ back ] 32. Iliad 8.30.
[ back ] 33. Iliad 10.219.
[ back ] 34. Iliad 8.38-30; 9.29-31; and 9.693-696.1 follow Lattimore's translation except for the words between pointed brackets.
[ back ] 35. Comparertti, 1898, chap. 3.
[ back ] 36. Kačić-Miošić, 1967, 179-180. See also George Kostich's doctoral dissertation at Harvard, "Serbo-Croatian Epic 'Ženidbe': An Investigation of the Multiformity of the Trials and Defenders of the Bridegroom," 1977.
[ back ] 37. Child, 1965, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 6.
[ back ] 38. In his version of the Song of Bagdad, Salih Ugljanin, having told of the gathering of the Bosnian armies, changes the subject with "Now let me tell you about Fatima" (Parry, M., 1953, no. 1, line 659).
[ back ] 39. Lönnrot, 1963, Poem 29, lines 403-426, 442-453.
[ back ] 40. Haavio, 1952, 134.