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

By Heather O'Donoghue

English Poetry and outdated Norse fable: A historical past lines the impact of previous Norse delusion -- tales and poems concerning the primary gods and goddesses of the pagan North, akin to Odin, Thor, Baldr and Freyja -- on poetry in English from Anglo-Saxon occasions to the current day. Especial care is taken to figure out definitely the right shape during which those poets encountered the mythic fabric, in order that the publication lines a parallel heritage of the sluggish dissemination of outdated Norse mythic texts.
Very many significant poets have been encouraged by means of previous Norse fable. a few, for example the Anglo-Saxon poet of Beowulf, or a lot later, Sir Walter Scott, used outdated Norse mythic references to lend dramatic color and obvious authenticity to their presentation of Northern previous. Others, like Thomas grey, or Matthew Arnold, tailored previous Norse mythological poems and tales in methods which either spoke back to and helped to shape the literary tastes in their personal instances. nonetheless others, equivalent to William Blake, or David Jones, transformed and included celebrated components of Norse fantasy - valkyries weaving the fates of fellows, or the good international Tree Yggdrasill on which Odin sacrificed himself - as own symbols of their personal poetry. This e-book additionally considers much less typical literary figures, exhibiting how an incredibly huge variety of poets in English engaged in person methods with previous Norse fantasy. English Poetry and previous Norse fable: A heritage demonstrates how attitudes in the direction of the pagan mythology of the north swap over the years, yet finds that poets have continually famous outdated Norse delusion as an integral part of the literary, political and old legacy of the English-speaking world.

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For a brief account of the later, pernicious, influence of the Germania, see Anthony Birley, ‘Introduction’, in Tacitus, Agricola and Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. xxxvii–xxxviii. 5 Tacitus, Germania, ch.  102. 6 Tacitus, Germania, ch.  108.  223, and see John C. ), Homilies of Ælfric: A Supplementary Collection (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967–8), vol.  684). For the link between Woden, Odin, and Mercury in learned writing about paganism in the Anglo-Saxon period, see 30 English Poetry and Old Norse Myth: A History in his Britannia (1586, translated into English in 1610), writes about a Saxon god Wooden—“that false imagined God, and Father of the English Saxons”8—and notes that he was also worshipped by the Danes.

25 For instance Ælfric in De falsis diis (Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, vol.  683–6), and William of Malmesbury in Gesta Regum Anglorum, ed.  A.  M. 5, vol.  22–3.  68–81.  149–59.  70.  71.  76–7. Antiquarians and Poets 35 Information about the Norse gods was also circulating in England around this time from a very different source. 32 It includes paraphrases from a number of Old Norse texts, and there are accurate references to Njáls saga, and a number of other family sagas, but disappointingly, the references to the Norse gods do not come from Arngrímr’s direct knowledge of Old Norse literature, and add little to what was known from Saxo and Olaus Magnus.

22.  125. Prologue 23 fight, there is no indication that the Geats have any future, especially in the face of attacks from their old enemies the Swedes. Beowulf is burnt on his funeral pyre, and heaven swallows up the smoke (3137–55). 26 The pessimism of this conception of the end of the world (though to some extent tempered by rebirth in Völuspá, perhaps under the influence of Christian theology) runs quite counter to Christian belief. 30 Although there have been some dissenting voices,31 parallels between Beowulf and accounts of Ragnarök are hard to resist.

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