The Politics of Retelling Norse Mythology

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review


    Myths are funny. Unlike histories, they are symbolic narratives; they deal with spiritual rather than fact-based truths. They serve as foundations for beliefs, illustrating how things came to be and who was involved, but they’re often sketchy about when or why. There’s a brief scene from Neil Gaiman’s new book Norse Mythology that does a remarkable job of capturing just this: the wonderfully nebulous sense of being in illo tempore—the hazy “at that time” of the mythic past. It begins, as many creation myths do, with “an empty place waiting to be filled with life,” but in this instance some life already exists. There’s Ymir, whose enormous body produces all giants and, eventually, the earth, skies, and seas. There’s Audhumla, the celestial cow, who licks the first gods out of blocks of ice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages7
    No.February 23
    Specialist publicationThe Atlantic
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


    • mythology
    • literary criticism
    • Norse Mythology
    • Neil Gaiman


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