90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Song Of The Vikings

Mythic storytelling out of Iceland, and the song of the Vikings.

A black-and-white reproduction of a painting showing Norsemen in a ship. The list of illustrations on page vii gives this one the title Norsemen Landing in Iceland'. (Wikicommons)

Long ago and far away, the old Norse tales and poems of Vikings and lore were fading.  A young Norwegian king – fourteen – was enchanted by the English tales of King Arthur.  A wayfaring storyteller from Iceland stepped into the breach.  Spinning northern tales of Thor and Odin, dragon and dwarf, magic weapons and rings.

He may be the most influential medieval writer you’ve never heard of.  But Tolkien did.  And Wagner.  And Neil Gaiman.  And Michael Chabon.

This hour, On Point:  the Homer of the north, and mythic storytelling out of Iceland.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nancy Marie Brown, author of Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths.

From Tom’s Reading List

Scienceblogs.com “Icelandic sagas and a single archaeological site in Newfoundland document a Viking Period presence of Norse people in the Americas. Now National Geographic’s November issue has a piece (here and here) on new work in the field, lab and museum collections by Dr. Patricia Sutherland. It deals with a group of additional and somewhat later sites that may expand that evidence. Dr. Sutherland, of the Memorial University in Newfoundland, kindly answered some questions of mine via e-mail.”

Video

You can watch the trailer of the book here.

Excerpt

You can find an excerpt of the book here. 

Playlist

Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros

Das Rheingold by James Levine

Concerning Hobbits by Howard Shore

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 30, 2014
In this Jan. 15, 2013, photo, Rosser Pryor, Co-owner and President of Factory Automation Systems, examines a new high-performance industrial robot at the company's Atlanta facility.  (AP)

Nicholas Carr says automation, all over, is turning us into zombies. Out of touch with the world. He’s with us.

 
Sep 30, 2014
St. Louis county police officers advance on protestors trying to shut down Interstate 70 in Berkeley, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. (AP)

Police shootings, cop culture, body cameras. And the big debate over how to protect the public and the police.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: September 26, 2014
Friday, Sep 26, 2014

All of you love to listen to old broadcasts when we play them, and Taylor Swift loves the Internet.

More »
Comment