Norse mythological influences on later literature

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The Norse mythology , preserved in such ancient Icelandic texts as the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, and other lays and sagas, was little known outside Scandinavia until the 19th century. With the widespread publication of Norse myths and legends at this time, references to the Norse gods and heroes spread into European literary culture, especially in Scandinavia, Germany, and England. In the later 20th century, references to Norse mythology became common in science fiction and fantasy literature, role-playing games, and eventually other cultural products such as Japanese animation.

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Reintroduction to popular culture

Antiquaries of the 19th century such as George Webbe Dasent brought the mythology of Scandinavia back to the popular notice of many people in Germany and England; in both cases, Norse mythology was recognized as the latest surviving form of Germanic paganism. Germany and England were Christianized far earlier than the Scandinavian countries and much of their own traditions were lost.

In England, William Morris composed poetry such as Sigurd the Volsung on Norse legendary subjects as well as translating Icelandic sagas into English. In Germany, Richard Wagner borrowed characters and themes from Norse mythology to compose the four operas that make up Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), though he also utilized medieval German sources and Germanized the names of the Norse gods.

Germanic neopaganism

More recent have been attempts in both Europe and the United States to revive the old Germanic religion as Germanic Neopaganism, variously under the names of Ásatrú, Odinism, Wotanism, Forn Sed or Heathenry. In Iceland, Ásatrú was recognized by the state as an official religion in 1973, which legalized its marriage, child-naming and other ceremonies. It is also an official and legal religion in all the Nordic countries, though it is still fairly new.[citation needed]

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