Over the centuries, Northern mythology has exerted much influence on Western customs, language, and literature. Its principal theme of the perpetual struggle of the beneficent forces of nature against the injurious, and its twin characteristics of dark tragedy and grim humor, tinge much European literature and music, most notably Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
In this volume, a noted scholar of myth and folklore has assembled a rich collection of Northern mythology as preserved in the Eddas and sagas of Iceland. These are perhaps the purest versions of the original myths, thanks to the island’s remoteness and lack of contact with outside influences. Both grand and tragical, the age-old tales tell of the creation of the world; the heroic deeds of such gods and heroes as Odin, Thor, and Siegfried; the machinations of the evil Loki; the fantastical adventures of giants, dwarfs, and elves; the twilight of the gods; and much else. Sixty-four marvelous, atmospheric illustrations add an additional dimension of charm.
In this convenient, reliable edition, Myths of the Norsemen offers not only hours of reading entertainment but also valuable insights into the nature and meaning of myth and how it constitutes part of the deep and ancient wellspring of Western culture.