The chairman of the English Department at Brigham Young University has been recognized in Finland as a major scholar of that country's national epic, the Kalevala.
William A. Wilson was named by a leading Finnish scholar as one of seven major foreign scholars of the Kalevala, a national epic of Finland that is based on Finnish folk songs."The Kalevala presents poems of Finland's past. It has become an important national symbol," said Wilson, who served an LDS mission to Finland.
Wilson received the Kalevala Jubilee Medal in 1985 for work done to advance knowledge and understanding of the Kalevala. In 1987 he was made a foreign member of the Kalevala Society, which is a high honor in Finland.
A prominent author, editor and lecturer on Mormon, Western and Finnish folklore, Wilson joined the BYU faculty in 1960 and later taught at Indiana University, UCLA and Utah State University. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in English from BYU in 1958 and 1962, respectively, and a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University in 1974.
While in Finland on a Fulbright scholarship he wrote the book, "Folklore and Nationalism in Modern Finland." He is also the author of "The Kalevala and the National Ideal."