Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend

Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend

John McKinnell





Close examination of the significant theme of other-worldly encounters in Norse myth and legend, including giantesses, monsters and the Dead.
A particular, recurring feature of Old Norse myths and legends is an encounter between creatures of This World (gods and human beings) and those of the Other (giants, giantesses, dwarves, prophetesses, monsters and the dead). Concentrating on cross-gendered encounters, this book analyses these meetings, and the different motifs and situations they encompass, from the consultation of a prophetess by a king or god, to sexual liaisons and return from the dead. It considers the evidence for their pre-Christian origins, discusses how far individual poets and prose writers were free to modify them, and suggests that they survived in medieval Christian society because (like folk-tale) they provide a non-dogmatic way of resolving social and psychological problems connected with growing up, succession from one generation to the next, sexual relationships and bereavement.


May 2005
2 line illustrations
302 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843840428
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, SOC011000
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An inspiring and readable study (.) invaluable for anyone working in the field of Old Norse studies. SAGA-BOOK
A very useful and thought-provoking book. SPECULUM
Thorough and impressive. (...) Gives thoughtful and precise readings of the Old Norse texts. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

Author Bio

John McKinnell is Reader in Medieval Literature at the University of Durham, UK.