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Finnish folklore: information sources in English: Kalevala and Kanteletar

The Kalevala, compiled and edited by Elias Lönnrot, is the national epic of the Finns.

SKS supported the folklore collecting journeys of Lönnrot in Finland and Karelia, and published the works that were based on the results of those field trips: the Kalevala (1835, 1849) and the Kanteletar (1840).
The Kalevala is based on epic folk poems, whereas the main sources of Kanteletar are lyrical folk poems.

There are several English translations available of both works. The Kalevala is the most translated book in Finnish: it has been translated into approx. 60 languages. 

The Kalevala collection at SKS Library

The Finnish Literature Society's Kalevala collection is one of the world's most complete. The collection contains

  • the Finnish editions of the Kalevala
  • Finnish abridgements and adaptations
  • translations and abridged and adapted translations into sixty languages

You can find references to Kalevala's Finnish editions and translations into other languages in the SKS Finna Search Service. Use the Narrow Search menu on the right to filter your search results by different criterias, for example by language.

The books in the Kalevala collection are not available for check out, but the Cultural Research Collection (call number D-H) contains a selection of Kalevala editions that can be borrowed

Kalevala information pack

SKS's Kalevala information pack contains information on the epic and it's background, origin and impact. The online material is available in Finnish, English and several other languages (the full text of the Kalevala is available only in Finnish). 


Elias Lönnrot (1802 - 1884)

The Kalevala Society and Kalevala Guide

You can find information about the Kalevala, it's translations and Elias Lönnrot on The Kalevala Society's webpages.

A selection of articles from the Kalevala Guide is available online:

The printed book is available at the SKS Library:

Juminkeko - The Information Center for the Kalevala and Karelian Culture

You can find information about the creator of the Kalevala, Elias Lönnrot, and the birth site of the poems, the Viena Karelian villages, on Juminkeko website:

English translations of the Kalevala available online

Translations of the Kalevala

Translations of the Kalevala

Translations of the Kalevala

Kalevala collections at SKS Library

The Kalevala in English (Print)

Browse the English translations, selections and adaptations of the Kalevala in the SKS Finna.

The Kanteletar in English (Print)