Wednesday, February 1, 1995

Gods Of the Ancient Northmen

by Georges Dumézil
translated by John Lindow, Alan Toth, Francis Charat, and George Gopen

Not actually a retelling of Norse myths. There's a ten-page intro by G. Scott Littleton outlining Dumézil's thought on Indo-European myth structure and a 26-page intro by Udo Strutynski on the history of scholarship after Dumézil.

The book itself is a revised version of the French version with four additional articles appended to it, eight segments in all. Not aptly named, it was a highly academic work on the connection between Germanic and Vedic myth, with bits of Roman, Celtic, and other folklore thrown in. I have to say that a great deal went over my head, but the arguments and connections that I did understand were quite intriguing and compelling (for example, the Byggvir-Beyla Barley-Bee argument was great, as was the linking of Heimdall's oceanic birth with some extremely obscure Celtic and Welsh folklore). A fascinating work. I just wish the Latin passages had been translated.

three stars

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