Ringer-friend Sampo alerted us to this well-done and informative article, published by Finnish Broadcasting Company, about how J.R.R. Tolkien’s career started thanks, in large-part, to his interest in the tragic Finnish hero, Kullervo. “When J. R. R. Tolkien, the father of Hobbits and fantasy literature, was in his twenties, he took a keen interest in the Finnish epic poem Kalevala. So much so that he wanted to rewrite the story of Kullervo. Now, this early work of his has finally been published.”
The article goes on to compare and contrast the various characteristics of Tolkien’s Kullervo with the Kullervo of the Kalevala. A delightful aspect of the article is that it contains bits and bobs of Tolkien quotes such as: “The gem of my attempt to write legends of my own to fit my private languages was the tragic tale of the hapless Kullervo in the Finnish Kelevala.” Another great quote, of reading about Finnish grammar: “It was like discovering a complete wine-cellar filled with bottles of amazing wine of a kind and flavour never tasted before.”
Another great thing about the article is that it’s in English! So, check it out here. In the mean time, The Story of Kullervo, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Tolkien scholar, Verlyn Flieger will be available on April 5, 2016. It’s available for pre-order from Amazon here.