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Hägglund, T. (1985). The Forging of the Sampo and its Capture: The Oedipus Complex of Adolescence in Finnish Folklore. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 8(2):159-180.

(1985). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 8(2):159-180

The Forging of the Sampo and its Capture: The Oedipus Complex of Adolescence in Finnish Folklore

Tor-Björn Hägglund, MD

“The creation of the Sampo and its elevation to the status of a possession of the Finnish nation”, as Julius Krohn has stated, “has, without Lönnrot consciously intending or noticing it, risen to become the central theme of the Kalevala” (Setälä 1932, p. 18). When gathering the songs which make up our national epic and combining them into an integral whole, out of a personal belief in the genuineness of this ancient tale of heroism, Lönnrot used the Sampo poems as the nucleus for his composition, placing Lemminkäinen alongside the true heroes, Väinämöinen and the smith Ilmarinen. Lönnrot departed from the folktale, or chose to supplement it, in that he viewed the Kalevala as representing the struggle between two peoples. And, he says in his introduction to the original version: “Almost all the epic songs depict two peoples whose relations are not especially harmonious. One we may call the people of Pohja and the other the people of Kalevala … This is the bond or connection that binds the Kalevala songs together, that they tell us how Kalevala gradually prospered, to vie with Pohjola and eventually emerge as victor” (Lönnrot 1928). Lönnrot recorded his first Sampo song at Akonlahti in 1832, and it was in 1835 that he was able to publish the whole of his “Kalevala, or Ancient epic songs of Karelia from the early times of the Finnish people”.

Lönnrot found something important in the Sampo songs for this nation which was moving towards independence and for its blossoming national romantic movement, something to raise the spirit of the individual in his smallness, and the people greeted it with rapture.

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