1st Edition

Tolkien and the Kalevala

By Jyrki Korpua Copyright 2025
    134 Pages
    by Routledge



    1. Introduction

    2. From folk tradition to fantasy

    On J. R. R. Tolkien

    On role models, ancient heroes

    The Kalevalas of Lönnrot

    The Kalevala Tolkien knew

    Tolkien’s works

    What did Tolkien think of the Kalevala?

    The merging of Finnish language and the Kalevala in Tolkien

    3. The story of the Kalevala and Tolkien’s fantasy world

    World creation and world order

    Song battles and quests before marriage

    The Sampo and the Silmarils


    The end of the tale

    4 The Kalevalaic parts of Tolkien’s world

    The might of singing, music and words

    Nature and the elements

    On Väinämöinen

    On Louhi

    On Ilmarinen

    On Kullervo

    5. Conclusion




    Jyrki Korpua, PhD, is a researcher of literature at the University of Oulu. His books include Alussa oli Sana – Raamattu ja kirjallisuus (“The Bible and Literature”, 2016, in Finnish), New Perspectives to Dystopian Fiction (2020, edited with Saija Isomaa & Jouni Teittinen) and The Mythopoeic Code of Tolkien: A Christian Platonic Reading of the Legendarium (2021). His research interests include theological literary history, utopian and dystopian studies, Tolkien studies, and mythopoetic game studies.

    "Jyrki Korpua brings new depth to Tolkien’s world-building with his delightful introduction to the song-built world of the Kalevala, which both inspired Tolkien’s earliest stories and resonates throughout his legendarium from the music of Creation to the songs of Tom Bombadil."

    Rachel Fulton BrownAssociate Professor of Medieval History, Fundamentals, and the College, The University of Chicago, USA