Martin's Press Publication Year 2014 Additional Details Copyright Date 2014 Illustrated Yes Dimensions Weight 9. Did Snorri come up with this imagery himself because he was a storyteller or was this idea already part of the world of myth? Snorri Sturluson is one of the most influential dudes you have probably never heard of. His sagas and poems give us the tales of Thor and his hammer, two-faced Loki, the Midgard Serpent, the rainbow bridge, Ragnarok, Yggrdrasil the ash tree, and so many more. What I did not know was how much of what I thought was traditional Norse myth was in fact his creation. Unlike Homer, Snorri was a man of the world--a wily political power player, one of the richest men in Iceland who came close to ruling it, and even closer to betraying it.
I do think I learned a good deal about Snorri however, and seeing how Norse Mythology has shifted over the years and been reimagined was also interesting. Like her earlier The Far Traveler, on the expansive journeys of the Norse, Nancy Marie Brown's Song of the Vikings belongs in the hands of every discerning student of Western civilization. They built riddles and puzzles within their epic poetry and part of the enjoyment of their works was figuring out what on earth they were talking about in the first place. I keep wavering on how to rate this book, so have resolved to write a brief reflection rather than accord it any stars. They liked to play games on each other, joke, and be cruel. Like her earlier The Far Traveler, on the expansive journeys of the Norse, Nancy Marie Brown's Song of the Vikings belongs in the hands of every discerning student of Western civilization.
As a professor of English, he started a club to focus on Nordic literature and he fought to get Norse myth into the syllabus. They built churches on their own lands and appropriated the tithes for themselves, paying salaries to the priests but keeping the rest or distributing it to their followers. Without stripping these dark tales of their magic, Nancy Marie Brown shows how mere humans shape myths that resonate for centuries--and how one brilliant scoundrel became, for all time, the 'Homer of the North. As our sources tell it, the system broke down because of three factors: the concentration of leadership in the hands of a few great men like Snorri who held eight chieftaincies ; relations with Norway, which were made very difficult because Iceland had no one who could speak for the whole island in matters of their essential trade with the mainland; and the church. His sparkling wit and descriptive elegance distinguish his writing from other accounts and are responsible for making him a favorite of scholars and fantasy writers alike. This was one rough for me but rewarding nonetheless. He worried that kids these days were losing the ability to understand poetry—that most influential of arts.
Like Homer, Snorri was a bard, writing down and embellishing the folklore and pagan legends of medieval Scandinavia. While it's easy to get bogged now in the all the characters who play a role in Snorri's life, the story is fascinating. Martin, Anne McAffrey, and J. Nancy Marie Brown has transformed her extensive knowledge of thirteenth-century Iceland into an accessible and interesting book. This is a sober, well-informed, and imaginative take on Norse mythology. There are numerous references to the Prose Edda and other works so it might be helpful to the reader if they have actually read one or more of Snorri's sagas prior to reading this book.
For a long time, the stories were essentially lost. It is engagingly written and its non-linear structure allowed Ms. You may not have heard of Snorri Sturluson, the thirteenth Century Icelandic writer, but he has had a huge impact on modern popular culture. Manly men went on raids and also traded verses to exhibit their keen wit. I liked that she listed the names of authors and books that have been heavily influenced by the Eddas more to add to my to-read list! A most interesting man, Snorri seems to have been determined to live his life to the fullest, and to glean every advantage from every day that he can. We can read or, at least, experts can hundreds of their verses: In the standard edition, they fill a thousand two-column pages.
Without him we might not have Wagner's Ring cycle, Tolkien, nor the elves, dwarves, trolls and wizards that inhabit just about every Fantasy world. Like Homer, Snorri was a bard, writing down and embellishing the folklore and pagan legends of medieval Scandinavia. Neil Gaiman's American Gods is also based on Snorri's Nordic mythology. I had no idea until reading this book but I was amazed to find the impact that this writer of 13th Century Icelandic sagas has had on literature. Religion played a part in Icelandic society and, interestingly, different classes favored different Gods, Thor was favored by farmers and sailors while Odin was an aristocrat's God. Unfortunately, it reads more like a junior high level blog entry about the cool things the author has read. She'll begin a chapter by recounting an episode from Norse myth, then relating a sequence of events in the poet's life seemingly similar to the tale she retells.
I wrote this review for the Historical Novel Review, where it was first published. She doesn't delve deeply into it but I found the few links she does make tantalizing. I wonder how the myths would be different if not told by Snorri? This engaging biography describes the life of Snorri Sturluson, a powerful 12th-century Icelandic chieftain and the author of the poetic Edda - one of the oldest surviving documents of Norse mythology. I found that in parts it devolved into lists of names who were related to other lists of names who. Christianity came to Iceland in 1000 and that was when Icelandic book culture started. Odin and the human army of Valhalla do not win. Brown even discusses how Viking lore has been appropriated by the Nazis and again by neo-Nazi white pride types.
She now lives in northern Vermont, where she keeps four Icelandic horses and an Icelandic sheepdog, and spends part of each summer in Iceland, offering history and horseback tours in collaboration with. The origin of the world in a giant cow licking a block of salt is likely a tongue-in-cheek homage to the importance of dairy farming in Iceland; much of the wealth of chieftains like Snorri came from animals, in particular goats, sheep and cows. However some of the retellings of the myths seemed a bit unnecessary to me. Iceland at this time was kind of the way you might imagine it to be. I would have liked to get a simple outline of Snorri's biography and something similar to describe the material in the writing attributed to Snorri.
I was unaware of the role played by church property etc. He was the chief over some choice chieftaincies and he even became the lawspeaker at the allthing—essentially the most law-knowing and well-versed guy at the annual Icelandic assembly. The others are best forgotten, I think! As a novice of Viking history, I found this book fascinating and informative - though I suspect that there is much speculation and Brown isn't always clear when she is speculating and when she has hard evidence for her claims. The assault on these practices by reformers led to further tensions. I'm not sure who Brown thinks the audience for this book is -- anyone who knows enough to want to read it wouldn't need the retellings of the stories. This is a sober, well-informed, and imaginative take on Norse mythology.