Kalevipoeg Studies: The Creation and Reception of an Epic
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Kalevipoeg Studies: The Creation and Reception of an Epic

By Cornelius Hasselblatt
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Book Description

The poem Kalevipoeg, over 19,000 lines in length, was composed by FriedrichReinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882) on the basis on folklore material. Itwas published in an Estonian-German bilingual edition in six instalmentsbetween 1857 and 1861; it went on to become the Estonian national epic.This first English-language monograph on the Kalevipoeg sheds light onvarious aspects of the emergence, creation and reception of the text.The first chapter sketches the objectives of the book and gives a shortsummary of the contents of the twenty tales of the epic, while the secondchapter treats the significance of the epic against the cultural background ofnineteenth-century Estonia.

The third chapter scrutinizes the emergence of the text in moredetail and, in its second part, takes a closer look at the many intertextualconnections and the traces the epic material has left in Estonian literatureup to the present time. The fourth chapter is a detailed case study of onedebated passage of the fifteenth tale.

The fifth and the six chapters deal with the German reception of the epic,which partly took place earlier than the reception in Estonia. In the fifthchapter, the first reviews and an early treatise by the German scholar WilhelmSchott (1863) are discussed. The sixth chapter presents the new genre of‘rewritings’ of the epic – texts which cannot be labelled as translations butare rather new creations on the basis of Kreutzwald’s text.

In the seventh chapter several versions of these retellings and adaptationsare compared in order to show the stability of some core material conveyedby various authors. A concluding chapter stresses the significance of foreignreception in the canonization process of the Kalevipoeg. At the end, acomprehensive bibliography and an index are added."

This book is part of the Studia Fennica Folkloristica series.

Table of Contents
  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Bibliographical Note
  • 1. Introduction
    • The objectives of this book
    • The contents of the Kalevipoeg (a summary of the twenty tales)2
  • 2. The Significance of the Kalevipoeg for the National Emancipation Movement of Estonia in the Nineteenth Century
    • The emergence of the text
    • The question of the authenticity of the material
    • The effect and reception of the epic
  • 3. The Emergence, Cultivation and Dissemination of the Kalevipoeg
    • Kreutzwald’s attitude
    • Quotations, adaptations and intertextual connections
      • (More or less) complete adaptations
      • Parts, motifs, ideas, elements
        • Poetry
        • Drama
        • Prose
    • Continuation
    • Conclusion
  • 4. Latin, German and Estonian. Language and Decency Exemplified through an Episode from the Fifteenth Tale
    • The problem
    • The background
    • The first solution
    • The second solution
    • The third solution
    • The consequences
  • 5. The German Reception of the Kalevipoeg
    • First reviews
    • Wilhelm Schott’s treatise
    • Other reviews, minor studies and marginal notes
    • A new German translation
    • The twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century
    • A new German edition
  • 6. German Rewritings of the Kalevipoeg
    • The advantage of the disadvantage
    • Israël’s book from 1873
    • Grosse’s book from 1875
    • A shortened prose version for children, 1894
    • Another anthroposophical voice
  • 7. From Folklore to Literature. Folkloristic Metamorphosis in the Foreign Reception of the Kalevipoeg
    • Translations into other languages
    • The principle of self-correction
    • The transfer to literary reception
    • The case of Lou Goble
    • The case of Lou Goble, once more
  • 8. Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Abstract
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