Yet, how she manages to not once mention the racism directed against Black people by the very people she is discussing brings her motivations into question, to say nothing about marring her scholarship. We would know virtually nothing of the tradition of Eddic poetry, with its stories of Thor and Odin and Balder and the giants, if Bishop Brynjolfr Sveinsson had not found the one manuscript that contains most of them in an Icelandic farmhouse in 1662 and sent it as a curiosity to the Royal Library in Copenhagen. Highly recommend for fans of norse mythology or with academic interest in this subject. Much of the rest of the mythology has the same grim feel. This book represents an attempt to trace the influence of Norse myth in popular and artistic culture from the Middle Ages until the present. But who will take the dangerous role of go-between? A really interesting survey of the impact Norse mythology has had on culture from the time it was first written down in Iceland onward to the present day or at least the date of publication, earlier this century.
The whole lot — skulls, berserkers, Valhalla, Valkyries and all — must go back to Thomas Bartholinus in 1689, but who cares about that now, or has any hope of stuffing the genie back in its bottle? I purchased this item for the purpose of getting a Christmas gift for my best friend who has always had a love for learning about mythology and Norse culture. When the old tree creaks, Ragnarok - the end of the world and of the gods themselves - is at hand. Whether they focus on Thor's powerful hammer, the mysterious valkyries, the palatial home of the gods - Asgard - or ravenous wolves and fierce elemental giants, the Norse myths are packed with vivid incident. I really enjoyed it and also learnt a lot about the way characters or myths are told, the meaning within them and the earliest days of popular interest in the mythology. To buy this book at the lowest price,. From Thomas Gray to Neil Gaiman, Blake to Tolkien, William Morris to Paul Muldoon, Wagner to Viking rock metal, she shows how the stories are re-read, retold and re-polished to provide a mirror that reflects and refracts contemporary cultural, philosophical and political concerns.
I was very pleased to see Heather had looked into two such titles, American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Melyn Burgess's Blood duo. I didn't always agree with everything the author stated and felt she missed some important and obvious comparisons - particularly in relation to The Lord of the Rings and Marvel's Thor, but even so, this is an entertaining and insightful piece of writing and a worthy addition to the bookshelves I found From Asgard to Valhalla to be an interesting read. This is clearly an academic book in the hands of someone who makes it into the interestesting and unique stories that constitute Norse mythology. The poet Ludwig Uhland developed such theses as long ago as the 1830s, with special reference to Thor, who does indeed look like an easy option for nature allegory. The author begins with several chapters offering an overview of the myths, before launching into an assessment of their place in popular culture. First is the rushed feeling of the text. The descriptions of Asatru, Forn Sed, etc.
But at the centre of their cosmos stands a gnarled old ash tree, Yggdrasil, from which all distances and times are measured. When the old tree creaks, Ragnarok - the end of the world and of the gods themselves - is at hand. From Asgard to Valhalla is the first book to show how and why the Norse myths have so powerfully resonated from era to era: from Viking-age stories of ice and fire to the epic poetry of Beowulf; and from Wagner's Ring to Marvel Comics' Mighty Thor. First off there's a look at what we know about Norse myth from written sources and archaeology, noting the problems and uncertainties associated with each and the vast yawning absences in our knowledge that look to be forever irreperable. The tone and narrative style of the book is very easy to follow, doesn't get boring or laborious at all.
In truth, none of the documentary evidence in this area is totally reliable. The problem stems from the author's failure to properly distinguish between racism, nationalism, heritage and ancestry. The most striking aspect of Norse mythology is that it is fundamentally hopeless. Mjöllnir, the hammer, which always flies back to his hand, must be the lightning-bolt. A fantastic and entertaining primer on Norse myths - their 'origins', their purpose, and their effect on culture.
It is from this tree that Odin, father of the gods, hanged himself in search of the wisdom of the dead: a disturbing image of divine sacrifice far removed from the feasting and fighting of his otherworld home, Valhalla. This is a person of blind-faith, seeing none of the horrors rendered by her faith, Christianity - so, apparently she has very limited sight. Or his one-eyed son, Kirk Douglas, reaching out, mortally wounded, for a sword to be put in his hand so he can go to Odin like Eirik Bloodaxe? Whether this is your chosen path, or whether you'r simply interested in this branch of mythology, Heather works with the sources and, though expressly not a believer, she makes it coherent and interesting and understandable without being simplistic or just another New Age book. After a virtuoso survey of the main strands of the tradition, her book shows how powerful the Viking gods have been in catching up into the busy sweep of their legends and histories writers and composers from almost every succeeding century. A very engaging book that is perfect for anyone with an interest in Norse Mythology. I don't know if this text was part of some tenure track necessity, but some more development and editing would probably have made a good text a better one.
From here, the tendency to confuse tribalism with racism, and racism with nationalism continues to snowball. This learned, often funny, and critically nimble book unpacks the surface strangeness of Norse narrative to reveal its universal relevance. In particular the tendency to see von List as being a racist when his writings and actions were clear that he was in favor of tribalism and insisting that all peoples should look to their own roots, additionally supporting efforts by some in the Jewish community to further Kabbalistic studies is the beginning of the end of a reasonably objective overview. This title tells from deep within Odin's cavernous halls: the stories of the Viking Gods. Yet, I do recommend it with caution. I learnt a lot more about the myths and their influence in poetry, prose, art, theatre. Tauris and has a total of 232 pages in the book.
I am proud of my English ancestry, but this does not necessarily make me an advocate for the nation of England, its current politics, or its imperial past. The second half is devoted to how other cultures have repurposed them, how other authors have retold them with whatever slant. Learn about some of the top heroes in fantasy also find one by theme such as assassin, wizard, anti-hero or orphan turned hero. I bought the hardback edition of this book and my only complaint is that the book sleeve that came with it was laminated very poorly and it was very awkward to hold. Heather O'Donoghue, who is an expert on Old Norse culture, shows in what ways the Norse myths have impacted on the western mind, across the fields of literature, art, music and politics. As judged by the Science Fiction Book Club. From Asgard to Valhalla is an intriguing survey of the history of Norse mythology and its impact on culture, history, politics, literature and art from the early middle ages to modern day.
Definitely worth a read if interested in this. There is no doubt that there are connections. I am a life long fan of Norse Mythology and also have read alot of what I call Norse Fantasy novels which show the continued influence of the legends and characters. It depends on what you value. One more big disappointment worth mentioning but not the author's fault and hence not part of the rating : The hardback book's binding is rather shoddy as hardback books go. The author begins with several chapters offering an overview of the myths, before launching into an assessment of their place in popular culture. This theory no longer has political support, but a trawl through websites using some of the old codewords reveals that it is still widespread.