Despite the prominence of conflicts in all mythological and heroic literature, perceptions of these conflicts and their participants are shaped by different cultural influences. Socio-economic, political, and religious factors all influence how conflict is perceived and depicted in literary form. This volume provides the first comparative analysis to explore conceptions of conflict and otherness in the literary and cultural contexts of the early North Sea world by investigating the use of metaphor in Old English, Old Norse, and Early Irish poetry. Applying Conceptual Metaphor Theory together with literary and anthropological analysis, the study examines metaphors of conflict and alterity in a range of (pseudo-)mythological, heroic, and occasional poetry, including Beowulf, Old Norse skaldic and eddic verse, and poems from the celebrated ‘Ulster Cycle’. This unique approach not only sheds new light on a wide spectrum of metaphorical techniques, but also draws important conclusions concerning the common cultural heritage behind these three poetic corpora.
Chapter 1: Metaphor, Alterity, and the Early Poetry of Northwest Europe
Chapter 2: Heathen Gods and their Enemies in Old English, Old Norse, and Early Irish Poetry
Chapter 3: Marginalizing the Enemy in the Heroic Poetry of Early Northwest Europe
Chapter 4: Defaming the Enemy in the Occasional Poetry of Early Northwest Europe