SCANDINAVIAN 220: Early Scandinavian Literature: Old Norse Mythology and Theories of Myth

F 12-3 , 6415 Dwinelle. Instructor: Jonas Wellendorf

Units: 4

Theorists of myth and mythology rarely draw on Old Norse materials and scholarship on Old Norse myth is often carried out without reference to other mythologies. Nevertheless, a number of influential applications of structuralist, ritualists and ideological approaches to Norse myth can be found. In this seminar, we will study these applications and seek apply to some of the major theories of myth and mythology of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to the Old Norse mythological primary sources. The aim will be to see what kinds of answers they can give to questions of origin, subject matter and function of Norse myths.

In addition to primary sources and specialized scholarship on Old Norse myth, readings will include works by Dumézil, Dundes, Eliade, Girard, Lévi-Strauss, Lincoln, Malinowski, and others.

Texts: The Prose Edda, The mythological poems of the Poetic Edda. Both will be read in Old Norse. Secondary readings will primarily be in English.

Prerequisites: At least two semesters of Old Norse language studies (or equivalent).