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Song Of The Vikings

This Program Is Rebroadcast From November 6, 2012

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.
  • JBK007

    Please discuss the ostensible anti-Christian sentiment (e.g. church burnings) that the Vikings apparently still maintain…

    • tbphkm33

      Ah, thank god that us modern Vikings are still good pagans. Modern Scandinavia is known to be a hotbed of church burnings.

      • JBK007

        åt helvete med krigshetsarna!

      • JBK007

        til helvete med krigshisserne!

    • cor508

      Oh boy, doesnt it get tiring playing the poor opressed xian all the time. WITHOUT any reality to back it up

  • dr. e

    Wrote this anti-war poem back about 2005.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DdIhxJtQxI

    It is based in part on the Heimskringla, the lives of the Norwegian Kings, by Snorri Sturluson. No pretence at authencity. Just an amateur’s poor attempt to try to channel a little bit of the fire of the skalds, scops & bards of old.

    Also I wanted to mention something I learned as part of a photogrammetry (“aerial” surveying) class. There is an ongoing archaeological mapping / excavation project in Iceland. One of the sources they use to determine where to map & dig are the writings of Snorri Sturluson.

    Really enjoyed the show and will probably listen to it online at least two or three more times.

  • GuestAug27

    Let’s be careful here. The Vikings also have socialist tendencies. An example: as an economic stimulus, the government of Iceland recently wrote off $30,000 of each homeowner’s mortgage debt.

    While here in the U.S., our leaders are falling over themselves trying to inflate housing prices back to the pre-crash levels. I guess this is to ensure that housing remains as expensive as possible to motivate the young people to work extra hard and extra long in the jobs they cannot find.
    There is something pathological about a society that considers rising prices of essential goods and high levels of debt a good thing.

  • pennyroyal

    Guest should know that the Icelandic peoples, when the banking crisis hit, took over the banks and got their economy back on its feet there. Instead of bailouts and CEOs with multimillion dollar salaries, they believe in the right of all to live well and not in forced poverty from the wealthy and greedy.

    • darioqqo948

      My Uncle Cameron recently got silver Volvo
      XC60 SUV only from working off a macbook air… why not look here B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

      • pennyroyal

        ???

  • pennyroyal

    Glad someone knows/loves the D’Aulaires!!!

  • Rebecca Williams

    I can’t figure out how to play this program. I have seen several re-posts of old shows with no way to play them. Am I missing something?

    • Vanessa Rogers

      Its a rebroadcast. I was having the same trouble but finally figured out to click on the “This Program Is Rebroadcast From November 6, 2012″ at the top and it will take you to the original story and you can listen from there.

      • Rebecca Williams

        Thanks!

  • Anne Atevens

    C’mon, OnPoint, if you’re going to have your host mention such well-respected and important authors as Ursula le Guin, at least make sure he knows how to pronounce her name correctly (le GWIN). She was the only woman on that list he rambled off, and the only one whose name he mangled. I don’t think it was deliberate, but it certainly doesn’t create a good impression.

    Otherwise, really enjoying this program.

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