Review Comment

The Kalevala

December 31, 1999

Flint, Aili Silver_nugget
The Kalevala

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Aili Flint is, essentially, Columbia University's Department of Finnish. Though her classes are technically grouped into the German Department, Finnish isn't even in the same language family as German. Aili teaches Finnish at Columbia, as well as a class on the Kalevala and Kanteletar, which are two fundamental works of Finnish folk mythology. Sound random and strange? It is. It's also one of the most thoroughly enjoyable and engaging classes I've ever taken. The reading material is fascinating, and you also get a fair serving of Finnish cultural and political history, which is presented with a great deal of verve and enthusiasm by Aili Flint, who is both personable and demanding in the classroom. If you're looking for an entertaining class to fill out your senior schedule, and have any interest in mythology, folk-tales, or Scandinavia, this is the class for you.


In the Kalevala class you read one English translation of the Kalevala, which is an epic poem the length of a short novel, and also read translations of the Kanteletar, which is a collection of finnish lyric folk poetry. One paper or final project at the end of the class, which doesn't have to be a paper, since Prof. Flint is very flexible. Light weekly reading assignments and a couple class presentations on a related topic of your choice. Not alot of work, and what there is is always engaging.

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