Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Author Archives: Stephen A. Mitchell

Continuity: Folklore’s Problem Child?


Abstract: : This essay examines the role of continuity in the study of medieval Northern popular cultural. Among other issues, it questions: the nature of continuity as a concept; the roles “tradition” and “continuity” have played in the development of folklore studies historically (e.g. Finnish Historical-Geographic Method, the “superorganic”) and their value today in relation […]

Odin, Magic, and a Swedish Trial from 1484


If we are to believe any number of histories, spiritual life in medieval Scandinavia, and especially the conversion to Christianity, is readily summarized: paganism collapsed against Christian conversion efforts in dramatic fashion at a meeting of the Alþing, or when a missionary bore hot iron, or an exiled king had a deep religious experience, or […]

Heroic Legend and Onomastics: Hálfs saga, the Hildebrandslied and the Listerby Stones


Several years ago, Gregory Nagy, referring to epic heroes from Greek, Indian, Hittite and other traditions, commented, “These constructs – let us call them simply ‘characters’ for the moment – are in some ways radically dissimilar from each other. Even within a single tradition like Homeric poetry, heroes like Achilles and Odysseus seem worlds apart. […]

Skírnir’s Other Journey: The Riddle of Gleipnir


För scírnis-the eddic poem in which Freyr acquires Gerðr as a mate through the help of Skírnir, his skóveinn ´messanger´-plays a central role in our understanding of early nordic culture. So much so, in fact, that a great body of secondary literature has developed around it, encompassing virtually all theoreteical approaches to myth: Solar, ritual, […]