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review 2018-12-11 09:24
Asgard to Valhalla, Heather O'Donoghue
From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths - Heather O'Donoghue

A really interesting survey of the impact Norse mythology has had on culture from the time it was first written down in Iceland onward to the present day (or at least the date of publication, earlier this century).

 

First off there's a look at what we know about Norse myth from written sources and archaeology, noting the problems and uncertainties associated with each and the vast yawning absences in our knowledge that look to be forever irreperable. The most important stories from the written stories are outlined - necessary information for the next part of the book, which surveys how Norse myth impacted all aspects of culture, social, political, artistic in a progression from the 13th Century to the 21st.

 

O'Donoghue restricts herself only to the "highlights" in order to fill in trends and register the most impactful social and artistic movements. This is no doubt essential for a book aimed at a popular audience, with a length restiction, however, I could have wished for both more detail and a more comprehensive discussion, at the risk of ending up with a longer and more academic book.

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text 2018-12-11 05:04
Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 232 pages.
From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths - Heather O'Donoghue

Numerous contemporary right-wing, racist and white-supremecist groups are still using Old Norse culture as a basis for their beliefs.

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text 2018-12-10 04:17
Reading progress update: I've read 162 out of 232 pages.
From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths - Heather O'Donoghue

Himmler, in contrast to Hitler, bought heavily into neo-Norse runic mysticism that reflected the generally intensifying racism and anti-semetism of the period in Germany.

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text 2018-12-09 21:18
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 232 pages.
From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths - Heather O'Donoghue

Despite Wagner being Hitler's favourite composer and Fritz Lang's 1924 film, Die Nibelungen, a favourite film, he was contemptuous of anyone espousing actual neo-Pagan spiritual beliefs.

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text 2018-12-08 21:45
Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 232 pages.
From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths - Heather O'Donoghue

Wagner draws primarily on Old Norse sources but mixes them with later German work and his own inventions to form a single, coherent narrative for the libretti of his Ring Cycle of operas.

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