Kalevalan naiset ja tiedon yöpuoli : Lönnrotin jalanjäljissä kohti Kalevalan naisten tarinoita
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
My dissertation deals with the most important female figures of the Finnish national epic New Kalevala (1849): Aino, Louhi, Lemminkäinen’s mother and Marjatta. The epic was compiled by Elias Lönnrot (1802–1884) from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore. My reading leans on the intuitive night side of knowledge, which Lönnrot (1832) introduced as a counterpart to the day side of rational knowledge. To illustrate the logic of the night side of knowledge, I analyse Lönnrot as both a collector of oral folklore and a compiler of a work of epic poetry. I propose that Lönnrot’s choice of presenting the Kalevala as an epic – a total work of art – provided the stories of its female characters with the kind of depth the individual poems would not permit. I also approach the female characters of the Kalevala from the point of view of feminist literary criticism and gender studies, utilising the philosophies of wonder by Luce Irigaray, metamorphic posthuman by Rosi Braidotti, and narratable self by Adriana Cavarero. I apply the methods of rewriting and the play with mimesis of Luce Irigaray, meaning that I tackle those parts of the stories of Kalevala that contain something weird or inexplicable and build a new, alternative story based on hints contained in the plot. I consider as weird and inexplicable the metamorphoses of Louhi, her invention of the Sampo, the magical device that brings its possessors great fortune, and the tale of Lemminkäinen’s mother diving into the river of Tuoni to save her dead son. I propose that these death-defying female characters can be regarded as figures that both embody the diversity of their nature and submit to change. Additionally, the story of Lemminkäinen’s mother, who has traditionally been considered as an archetypal mother figure, reveals features that in the context of my work make her appear as a posthuman character. At the heart of my dissertation is, nevertheless, the story of Aino. I propose that the tale of Aino ends with neither her drowning nor the part played by the anomalous Vellamo, but echoes of her distinctive world-view can be heard in poem 41 of the Kalevala. Cavarero’s philosophy of narratable self is founded on the idea of the self as a story that is borne in interaction with others. This is exemplified by the stories both of Marjatta, who answers the call of the lingonberry and gives birth to a new king, and of the dynamic between Aino and Väinämöinen. After an encounter with Vellamo, the confused Väinämöinen ends up in Pohjola, the land ruled over by Louhi, his archenemy. Louhi can be interpreted as a witch who seeks to foster Väinämöinen’s self-understanding, which relates her to the witch Baba Yaga in the folktale about the wise Vasalisa. Only when Marjatta’s son reminds him of his part in Aino’s drowning, Väinämöinen finally realises his role in the tragedy and gives way to the new king. This ushers in a new era, which in my interpretation better understands the importance of love to both Cavarero’s narratable self and Irigaray’s feminine self. ...
Alternative titleLönnrotin jalanjäljissä kohti Kalevalan naisten tarinoita
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
Marjatta Lönnrot, Elias Lönnrot, Elias Louhi Lemminkäisen äiti Aino Kalevala wonder the posthuman the play with mimesis rewriting night side of knowledge narratable self intuition feministinen kirjallisuudentutkimus kansalliseepokset henkilökuvaus naiskuva sukupuoliroolit metamorfoosi (taide) tulkinta sukupuolentutkimus subjekti posthumanismi narratiivisuus naiseus itse feministinen filosofia
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