The Story of Kullervo is a prose version of the Kullervo cycle in the Karelian and Finnish epic poem Kalevala. Translated and retold by J.R.R. Tolkien when he was an undergraduate at Exeter College, Oxford, from 1914 to 1915, it was an unsettled period for the author, and this is thought to be reflected in the story's dark subject matter. It also marks "the first time that J.R.R. Tolkien, who had been a poet until then, began writing prose".

Known as a source (among others) for the First Age character Túrin Turambar, Kullervo was the center of Tolkien's efforts in 1914, as he was "trying to turn one of the stories [of the Kalevala] — which is really a very great story and most tragic – into a short story".[1]

It was edited by Verlyn Flieger in 2010 and republished in August of 2015 by HarperCollins.


  1. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter no. 1 (October 1914)

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