Thursday, July 7, 2011

Johan Turi's Book --Muitalus sámiid birra--New Sámi Edition

To mark the hundred-year anniversary last year of the publication of Johan Turi's classic narrative, Muitalus sámiid birra, a revised edition came out in 2010 from the academic press, CálliidLágádu, based in Karasjok, Norway. The editor, Mikael Svonni, is a Sámi professor now at the University of Tromsø. Svonni went back to the notebooks in which Turi originally wrote down his stories, memories, and thoughts and re-transcribed them, taking out added punctuation, and restoring a different kind of flow. 

Mikael Svonni was kind enough to give copies of this edition to everyone who presented at the International Conference on Johan Turi in March this year in Tromsø. I can't read Sámi but I'm happy to look at the text and illustrations of a book that's meant a lot to me.
Muitalus sámiid birra was originally composed in 1908 with the encouragement of the Danish artist and later ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt, who had spent fifteen months in Lapland and spoke Sámi. She took these notebooks back to Denmark with her, transcribed them, and translated them with the help of Anders Pedersen and Vilhelm Thomsen, two philologists. The final book was published in an innovative bilingual edition in Danish and Sámi. It was soon translated to German and eventually to English and several other languages. It's currently being re-translated into English by Thomas DuBois of the University of Wisconsin.

This beautiful new large-format edition also includes the original artwork in the 1910 edition, etchings of Turi's sketches of reindeer and Sámi herders, often drawn as if seen from above, along with other paintings by Turi.

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