13 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 42.4k
10 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 3,253
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 ...
  • 141
8 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 3,253
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 ...
  • 3,253
7 votes
Accepted

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. ...
  • 3,253
6 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 42.4k
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 ...
  • 65.1k
5 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 1,566
3 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 (...
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 ...
  • 3,860
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 "...
  • 39.7k
3 votes
Accepted

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, ...
  • 2,126
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 ...
  • 4,536
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 ...
  • 4,536
2 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 ...
  • 15.9k
2 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 ...
  • 15.9k
2 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 42.4k
1 vote
Accepted

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 '...
1 vote

Is the AIA from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" real?

Google Search for: "Agency for Industrial Assistance" wiki Gets me a link for this pdf that says, in reference to the translator: Keeland was more inclined to domesticate such names; for ...
  • 514
1 vote

How did Hans Christian Andersen know so much about Indian culture and geography?

By the time Anderson wrote, India was already known to Europeans quite well. Earlier poets such as Goethe wrote in one of his poems about the characters of Kalidasa's Shakuntala, who wrote in Sanskrit ...
1 vote

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 ...
  • 3,253

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