The Kalevala

Jan 2000

Aili Flint is, essentially, Columbia University's Department of Finnish. Though her classes are technically grouped into the German Department, Finnish isn't even in the same language family as German. Aili teaches Finnish at Columbia, as well as a class on the Kalevala and Kanteletar, which are two fundamental works of Finnish folk mythology. Sound random and strange? It is. It's also one of the most thoroughly enjoyable and engaging classes I've ever taken. The reading material is fascinating, and you also get a fair serving of Finnish cultural and political history, which is presented with a great deal of verve and enthusiasm by Aili Flint, who is both personable and demanding in the classroom. If you're looking for an entertaining class to fill out your senior schedule, and have any interest in mythology, folk-tales, or Scandinavia, this is the class for you.