Book Series Borders, Boundaries, Landscapes, vol. 2

Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe

Matthias Egeler (ed)

  • Pages: viii + 263 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:18 b/w, 3 tables b/w., 3 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2019

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58040-1
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58041-8
  • E-book
  • Available
  • Contains contributions in Open Access


“This engaging collection of twelve essays is the second volume in Brepols’ Borders, Boundaries, Landscapes series, which aims to publish interdisciplinary works that reassess borders and fron-tiers as places of dynamic cultural innovation and interaction, and that conceptualise these land-scapes both geographically and metaphorically. Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe succeeds in both of these goals (…) This volume is one which I would highly recommend not just to scholars specialising in medieval Iceland or Ireland, but indeed to any academic (…)” (Erica Steiner, in Ceræ: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 6, 2019, p. 61-65)

“This volume offers many thoughtful studies of the fundamental connection between landscape and myth (…) Matthias Egeler's editorial introduction is a gem of the genre, offering not only a helpful overview of the threads of conversation that tie the volume together, but also an intellectually engaged exploration of the state of the field (…)This reader commends the contributors and editor for producing a volume that is well-organized, well-conceived, and well-researched, is a useful contribution to studies of landscape in the medieval North-Atlantic region, and is worthy of a space on many library shelves.” (Sarah Harlan-Haughey, in The Medieval Review, 20/06/2020)

“(…) this volume is a highly valuable contribution to scholarship on the diverse ways in which landscape—physical, metaphysical, and all ‘gradients’ between—was inhabited and understood in medieval north-western Europe. In particular, there are exciting moments of interdisciplinary analysis and engaging discussion of the relations between Norse and Celtic traditions. Only, just as with that box of Christmas sweets, one is left wishing for more!” (Jay Johnston, in Parergon, 37/2, 2020, p. 205)


This volume explores the intersection of landscape and myth in the context of north-western Atlantic Europe. From the landscapes of literature to the landscape as a lived environment, and from myths about supernatural beings to tales about the mythical roots of kingship, the contributions gathered here each develop their own take on the meanings behind ‘landscape’ and ‘myth’, and thus provide a broad cross-section of how these widely discussed concepts might be understood.

Arising from papers delivered at the conference Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe, held in Munich in April 2016, the volume draws together a wide selection of material ranging from texts and toponyms to maps and archaeological data, and it uses this diversity in method and material to explore the meaning of these terms in medieval Ireland, Wales, and Iceland. In doing so, it provides a broadly inclusive and yet carefully focused discussion of the inescapable and productive intertwining of landscape and myth.


Introduction: ‘Landscape’, ‘Myth’, and the North-Western European Perspective – MATTHIAS EGELER

Myth and Real-World Landscapes

Spaces, Places, and Liminality: Marking Out and Meeting the Dead and the Supernatural in Old Nordic Landscapes — TERRY GUNNELL

Aesthetic Appreciation of Landscape in the Sagas of Icelanders — REINHARD HENNIG

Landscape Meditations on Death: The Place-Lore of the Hvanndalur Valley in Northern Iceland — MATTHIAS EGELER

Myth and the Creation of Landscape in Early Medieval Ireland — GREGORY TONER

Codal and Ériu: Feeding the Land of Ireland — GRIGORY BONDARENKO with NINA ZHIVLOVA)

Finn’s Wilderness and Boundary Landforms in Medieval Ireland —ELIZABETH FITZPATRICK

‘Here, Finn… Take This and Give him a Lick of it’: Two Place-Lore Stories about Fi(o)nn Mac Cum(h)aill in Medieval Irish Literature and Modern Oral Tradition — TIZIANA SOVERINO

The Mélusine Legend Type and the Landscape in Insular and Continental Tradition — GREGORY R. DARWIN  

Myth and the Landscapes of Literature

King Sverrir’s Mythic Landscapes — NICOLAS MEYLAN

Mythologizing the Conceptual Landscape: Religion and History in Imago mundi, Image du monde, and Delw y byd — NATALIA PETROVSKAIA

The Road Less Travelled: Cú Chulainn’s Journey to Matrimony and the Dindshenchas of Tochmarc Emire — MARIE-LUISE THEUERKAUF

‘If we settled in the forest…’: Tracing the Function of Wooded Spaces from Old Irish Literature to Contemporary Poetry — EDYTA LEHMANN