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20 votes

What does "grinning" mean in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen"?

The English translation uses ‘a grin’ and ‘grinned’ to render the original Danish grin and grinede. In the original, the quoted passage reads as shown below; I have emphasised the relevant words. The ...
Segorian's user avatar
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13 votes
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How does the old norse kenning 'nausta blakks hlé-mána gífrs drífu gim-slöngvir' break down into 'warrior'

It unpacks as follows: nausta blakks ‘steed of boathouses’ = ship hlémána ‘protecting moon’ of the ship = shield gífr ‘terror’ of the shield = sword drífa ‘storm’ of the sword = battle gim ‘fire’ of ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why is there so much legalese in Egil's Saga?

Short answer: Egil's saga is not particularly more interested in legal matters than similar sagas. I do not know what other sagas are being referenced in the question, but one should recognise that ...
andejons's user avatar
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9 votes

Are coins usually turned around before handed to beggars?

The original text is: Fremfor alt må vi gjøre forplantningsspørsmålet etisk relevant. Man endevender en mynt under valgets kvide, før man gir den til tiggeren. Men et barn slænger man ut i den ...
user46760's user avatar
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9 votes
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Major differences between Norse epic poetry and English epic poetry

First, I'd like to note that my knowledge on English verse is not as good as of Norse. Thus I will start with a description of Norse verse, and then try to compare with what I know of English verse. ...
andejons's user avatar
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8 votes
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Are there significant differences across the Nordic countries in the traditional portrayal of trolls?

There are great variations of how trolls are portrayed, but it is not primarily a matter of national literature. I will be focusing on Sweden and Norway, where I know the traditions best. First, we ...
andejons's user avatar
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7 votes
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What did Peer Gynt look like?

Details are scarce. The script for the play introduces Peer Gynt with the description: [PEER GYNT, a strongly-built youth of twenty, comes down the pathway. His mother, ASE, a small, slightly built ...
CDR's user avatar
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7 votes

The Icelandic Edda's origins

Properly, the name Edda refers only to one work: Snorri's Edda, a work on Norse poetics, including the background in mythology necessary to write and understand such. The name probably comes from an ...
andejons's user avatar
  • 3,485
6 votes
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Swedish novel from 2013 on a researcher in the isolated Pårte observatory in the Sarek Mountains, Sweden

This sounds like Observatoriet by Mats Söderlund, published in 2013 by Albert Bonniers Förlag. The Nordin literary agency blurbed the books as follows: The Observatory is a merciless novel that gets ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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6 votes

What is a beacon?

It's a geographical feature: a stony hill with a cairn. A beacon doesn't have to be a man-made signal: the word can mean just a "high hill or other easily distinguishable object", e.g. one which can ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
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Source of three Icelandic kennings quoted (in Russian) in poem of Martynov?

As noted by Rand al'Thor in the comments, skaldic.org has good information on the scaldic poetry that typically uses these long, complicated kennings, meaning many-part, complicated likenesses that ...
andejons's user avatar
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5 votes

Is the title best translated "A Dollhouse", "A Doll House" or "A Doll's House"?

The clue is in the place of publication of the Fjelde translation - New York. The child's toy is called a dollhouse in American English, but a doll's house in British English. Evidently Fjelde didn't ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
5 votes
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Is the title best translated "A Dollhouse", "A Doll House" or "A Doll's House"?

tl;dr A Doll's Home would appear to fit best. Deets This is what I gather from conversations with one native speaker each of Norwegian and Danish, and from consulting a book by Egil Törnqvist that CDR ...
verbose's user avatar
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5 votes
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How did Ibsen's writing in A Doll's House influence the James Joyce character Molly Bloom?

While Ibsen was indeed a great influence on Joyce in many ways, there is no evidence that Ibsen's writing in A Doll's House influenced Joyce's character Molly Bloom from Ulysses. While the onus really ...
fundagain's user avatar
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4 votes

Why did August Strindberg pick the names "Julie" and "Jean" for the protagonists of his play Miss Julie (1888)?

This is purely speculative, based on what you have said and reviewing the plot summary in the Wikipedia article. You point out that the names are not common in Sweden at that time, which points to an ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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4 votes

What does "The Neck" mean in Herr Mannelig?

Here the neck means something like water-nymph or mermaid or some kind of spirit living in the water. In the Wikipedia page for Herr Mannelig, the following quote is linked to the page for "Neck (...
Himanshu Jain's user avatar
4 votes
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Did Ibsen have any known response to Shaw's Quintessence of Ibsenism?

The Quintessence of Ibsenism was based on a lecture that Shaw gave to the Fabian Society in July 1890. This lecture (although not The Quintessence itself as such) was brought to Ibsen's notice by the ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
3 votes

Is the title best translated "A Dollhouse", "A Doll House" or "A Doll's House"?

I would note that dukkehjem appears to be a coinage by Ibsen based on a cursory search on the Danish Wikipedia where the only articles using the word are those referring to the play or its subsequent ...
D. A. Hosek's user avatar
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3 votes

Is the ending of A Doll's House satisfactory and moral?

tl;dr Yes. Deets: 1. Introduction You're actually asking two different questions about A Doll's House: Is the ending satisfactory? Is the ending moral? The two are not the same. A play might have a ...
verbose's user avatar
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3 votes
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Where exactly does Tófa fit into the Saga of Týrfingr, is she the same individual as Sváva?

Summary There are two manuscript sources for the saga of Hervör and Heithrek: Manuscript H, part of the Hauksbók, held by the National and University Library of Iceland, shelfmark AM 544. Hervör’s ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is Snufkin based on Atos Wirtanen?

Yes he was. This is confirmed on the Moomin Series official website: Snufkin was inspired by Tove Jansson herself, her brother Lars, but above all Tove’s boyfriend from the beginning of the 1940’s, ...
Fabjaja's user avatar
  • 2,176
3 votes

Where in the Edda does it counsel or complain against drunkenness?

The Hávamál ("The High One's [=Odin's] Lay") in this 1908 translation edition of the Elder Edda has these bits of advice and reminiscence, which might be what you are after. A better ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,200
3 votes

Are coins usually turned around before handed to beggars?

Several languages have a similar expression involving "turning over" coins. For example, the German expression "jedes Geldstück zweimal umdrehen" (or jeden Pfennig zweimal umdrehen) literally means "...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes

Why does Laxness mention "second sight" in "Independent People"?

I'll caveat this with the fact that I have not read the work in question and I'm going to some extent off the OP, Mami's comments now edited into the question. Specifically the comment: there is no ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 19.1k
2 votes

How did Jonathan know about Nangiyala?

We are never explicitly told how he knows this. Karl says that when Jonatan first tells him about Nangiyala, it is in a manner as if "everyone knows about it". Then the subject is dropped. We are also ...
andejons's user avatar
  • 3,485
2 votes

What is Sophie saying about the Tower of Babel here?

Well, the rabbit is described as our universe, pulled out of a magician's hat, where the magician is God. Philosophers, discoverers, they are the ones Sophie says built the Tower of Babel, or climbed ...
auden's user avatar
  • 4,782
2 votes

When did Sophie and Alberto become real?

I believe that Sophie and Alberto became real as they crawled to the tip of the rabbit's fur. The more questioning they became, and the farther along they crawled, the more real they became. They no ...
auden's user avatar
  • 4,782
2 votes

Did 'A Doll's House' spark controversy over its dismissal of social classes?

There is no evidence that A Doll's House dismisses social classes. The focus of the play is squarely on the middle class characters. The working class figures, such as the porter who brings in the ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes

Why did August Strindberg pick the names "Julie" and "Jean" for the protagonists of his play Miss Julie (1888)?

Author Jan Myrdal, although mainly a political writer, was very interested in literary fiction and wrote several books and many articles about Strindberg. He referred to Strindberg’s own words (in a ...
Segorian's user avatar
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1 vote
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Where in norse literature was 'Galdrakinn' used as a nickname, as recorded by Cleasby?

I found the answer moments after writing the question, but I thought I'd add a self-answer in case this trip anybody else up in the future (like me, when I forget how this works). You can search the '...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar

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