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Old Norse Myths as Political Ideologies
Critical Studies in the Appropriation of Medieval Narratives

N. Meylan, L. Rösli (eds.)
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260 p., 1 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58821-6
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 75,00 excl. tax
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The mythology of the Norse world has long been a source of fascination, from the first written texts of thirteenth-century Iceland up to the modern period. Most studies, however, have focused on the content of the narratives themselves, rather than the broader political contexts in which these myths have been explored. This volume offers a timely corrective to this broader trend by offering one of the first in-depth examinations of the political uses of Norse mythology within specific historical contexts. Tracing the changing interests and usages of Norse myths from the medieval period, via the nineteenth century and the importance of ancient Norse beliefs to both the Romantic and völkisch movements, up to the co-option of mythology and symbolism by political groups across the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the papers gathered here offer new and critical insights into the changing nature of historiography and the political agendas that Old Norse myths are made to serve, as well as shedding new light on the way in which ‘myths’ are conceptualized.

Table of Contents
Æsirism: The Impossibility of Ideological Neutrality in Snorra Edda — RICHARD COLE
‘Reconciling’ Ancient Paganism and Modern Protestantism: On the Scholarly Reception of Old Norse Mythology in the German Romantic Period — MARGOT DAMIENS
Desirable Plainness? Friedrich von der Leyen’s Writings on Education and Mythology between Johann Gottfried Herder and Nationalist Ideology — LEA BAUMGARTEN
Otto Höfler’s Männerbünde and Völkisch Ideology — COURTNEY MARIE BURELL
Archaeology and Textuality in the Study of Pre-Christian Scandinavian Religion — MARGARET CLUNIES ROSS
The Revival of Archaic Traditions in Modern Times: Völkisch Imaginations in the Context of European Nordicism — HORST JUNGINGER
Feminist Vikings, Ecological Gods and National Warriors; The Reception of Old Norse Religion and Culture in Sweden — FREDRIK GREGORIUS
Barbaric Lands of the North in a Massively Multi-Player Role-Playing Game — LAURENT DI FILIPPO
Reception of the Past, Projection of the Present: Creating Viking Masculinities — BARBORA DAVIDEK
‘Re-Wild Yourself’: Old Norse Myth and Radical White Nationalist Groups in Trump’s America — VERENA HÖFIG
The State of Vinland — MERRILL KAPLAN

“Without a doubt, the editors and chapter authors had made a significant contribution both to Viking medievalism and to understanding of how myths work: it is greatly to be hoped that their challenge to de-naturalise and re-politicise the beliefs that myths bolster is taken up both in academia and the wider world.” (Simon Trafford, in The Medieval Review, 21.10.28)

Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Germanic langs & lits (other than English)
North Germanic/Scandinavian languages & literatures
Comparative & cultural studies through literature
Medieval literature (general comparative)
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : genres & specific topics
Viking studies
North Sea lands studies
Modern History (1501 to the present)
Early modern history (1501-1800) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history

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