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  • Clive Gilson

Snow & Ice

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Tales & Legends from Scandinavia

Scandinavian folklore or Nordic folklore is the folklore of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It is generally accepted that Scandinavian folklore and legend shares common roots with folklore in England, Germany, the Baltic countries and Finland.


Folklore is a concept encompassing expressive traditions of a particular culture or group. The peoples of Scandinavia are reasonably heterogenous, as are the oral genres and material culture that has been common in their lands. There is, therefore, a degree of commonality across Scandinavian folkloric traditions, among them a common ground in elements from Norse mythology as well as Christian conceptions of the world.


In Tales from the Land of Snow & Ice we have some of my favourite stories as told by Hans Christian Andersen, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Jørgen Engebretsen Moe et al. The stories are drawn from Andrew Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, from The Birch and the Star, and from Asbjørnsen's collaboration on Tales from the Fjeld. This is the first in a two volume collection of tales from Scandinavia.


There is a clear and rich tradition of storytelling in the north, perhaps dictated by long winter nights and roaring fires. Whenever you read the sagas or pick up on the wandering collections of Hans Christian Andersen and Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, amongst many others, you tap into a centuries old heritage wrapped in wonder and magic and outlandish heroism.


So much of that storytelling is rooted in Norse mythology, which is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianisation of Scandinavia. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.


Northern mythology has been the subject of scholarly discourse since the 17th century, when key texts were brought to the attention of the intellectual circles of Europe. By way of comparative mythology and historical linguistics, scholars have identified elements of Germanic mythology reaching as far back as Proto-Indo-European mythology. During the modern period, the Romanticist Viking revival re-awoke an interest in the subject matter, and references to Norse mythology may now be found throughout modern popular culture. The myths have further been revived in a religious context among adherents of Germanic Neopaganism.


As with the collections from the British Isles published recently, It’s always a pleasure and never a chore to re-read and re-present these lovely stories.


Cheers for now,

Clive


(Sources include Wikipedia)

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