Tarkka: Genre, Mythic Realms and Vernacular Imagination

Lotte Tarkka will continue her research on genre, intertextuality and multivocality in oral poetry through the anchor study “Genre, Mythic Realms and Vernacular Imagination”. Analysis of the fictive and imaginary worlds created in the runo-singing practices in the Kalevala-meter provides a basis for relating the notion of tradition to innovation and creativity as necessary components of vernacular imagination. Tarkka will produce a set of interrelated case studies with the theoretical focus of the generation and contestation of mythic knowledge via imaginative processes inherent in the poetic register.

Organized around one performer, one core symbol, or one poem type, the case studies seek to unravel the role of the system of genres, tropology, and individual creativity in the formulation of the most central values and narratives of a community. In a monograph on the Viena Karelian epic singer and magical specialist, Riiko Kallio (1869–1942), Tarkka will investigate the effects of modernization on vernacular imagination and the poetic register, as well as the processes of attributing authority to and the authentication of mythic knowledge in the contexts of the local community and the national romanticist elite. The monograph will include a critical edition of the unpublished poems of one of the last male singers of Kalevala-meter poetry.