Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) was a professor, doctor, editor, poet and translator who greatly reformed the Finnish language. He was an eager collector of proverbs and riddles, names of plants and odd words. Most of all he is remembered and honored as the creator of Kalevala, which has gained the status of Finnish national epic.
In the spirit of national mythology Lönnrot wandered eleven times in Northern and Eastern Finland and Karelia collecting folk poems. These poems form the ground of the Kalevala. The first edition was published in 1835, and the second, expanded and nowadays the standard version, in 1849. Lönnrot made his dreams come true and created an ancient Finnish heroic prehistory, which still is an important ground for Finnish national identity and inspires researchers and artists.
In 1840 Lönnrot published the Kanteletar, which is called Kalevala’s sisterly work with lyrical poems. It is based on runo singer Mateli Kuivalatar’s songs. Lönnrot’s publications include even Suomalais-Ruotsalainen sanakirja (Finnish-Swedish dictionary, 1880), books and scientific articles on medicin and Flora Fennica (1860).