English Poetry and Old Norse Myth: A History by Heather O'Donoghue

By Heather O'Donoghue

English Poetry and outdated Norse delusion: A background lines the impact of outdated Norse fable -- tales and poems concerning the well-known gods and goddesses of the pagan North, comparable to Odin, Thor, Baldr and Freyja -- on poetry in English from Anglo-Saxon instances to the current day. Especial care is taken to figure out the fitting shape within which those poets encountered the mythic fabric, in order that the ebook lines a parallel heritage of the slow dissemination of previous Norse mythic texts.
Very many significant poets have been encouraged via previous Norse fantasy. a few, for example the Anglo-Saxon poet of Beowulf, or a lot later, Sir Walter Scott, used previous Norse mythic references to lend dramatic color and obvious authenticity to their presentation of Northern earlier. Others, like Thomas grey, or Matthew Arnold, tailored previous Norse mythological poems and tales in methods which either answered to and helped to shape the literary tastes in their personal occasions. nonetheless others, comparable to William Blake, or David Jones, remodeled and integrated celebrated parts of Norse fantasy - valkyries weaving the fates of guys, or the good global Tree Yggdrasill on which Odin sacrificed himself - as own symbols of their personal poetry. This e-book additionally considers much less prevalent literary figures, displaying how an incredibly huge variety of poets in English engaged in person methods with previous Norse fable. English Poetry and outdated Norse fantasy: A background demonstrates how attitudes in the direction of the pagan mythology of the north swap through the years, yet finds that poets have regularly well-known outdated Norse fantasy as an integral part of the literary, political and old legacy of the English-speaking world.

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91–123. Antiquarians and Poets 39 words in current ecclesiastical and legal terminology—another example of how constitutional interests also served to increase knowledge of Old Norse material. 52 This was a coup for Spelman, not least because Worm’s great work, which marked a new phase in Northern knowledge outside Scandinavia, was his Runer, seu Danica Literatura Antiquissima (1636), a treatise on runes themselves, a script Worm claimed was derived from Hebrew, and thus of great antiquity. Literatura Runica (“Runic letters”), as the work is usually known, is an exhaustive study of runes, with disquisitions on their origins, their names, the order of the characters, and much else.

Arngrímr names Freyr and Njörðr, and then identifies “As”—the Old Norse name for a divinity—as “that famous Odinus”. He continues with the medieval etymology of the plural form Æsir: that it derives from Asia, their original home. 33 Like Saxo, Arngrímr writes of Odin as an historical leader who “affected a Divinitie after his death”. And like Verstegan, he sees that although the naming pattern of the days of the week would equate Odin with the Roman Mercury, in Old Icelandic tradition he is more obviously the equivalent of Mars, the god of war.

159–76. 34, vol.  222–4.  115. 24 Following earlier native English traditions,25 he links the Norse pantheon to the names of the days of the week. 26 Even Verstegan himself seems puzzled by some of them. 27 Tuesday’s idol is not of the god of war, Old Norse Týr, but of the god Tuisto, from Tacitus. 28 Woden (armed and armoured, as in Olaus Magnus) is equated with the Roman god of war Mars, and in a brilliantly insightful etymology, Verstegan connects his name with the English word “wood”, meaning mad, or furious (the cognate Old Norse word óð has been proposed by modern scholars as the origin of his Norse name Óðinn).

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