Tales of Rings: Motives of Germanic Mythology in Fantasy Genre Literature Cover Image

Teiksmas par gredzeniem: Ģermāņu un Skandināvu mitoloģijas motīvi fantāzijas žanra literatūrā
Tales of Rings: Motives of Germanic Mythology in Fantasy Genre Literature

Author(s): Bārbala Stroda
Subject(s): Cultural history, Fiction, Ethnohistory, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Sociology of Culture, Theory of Literature
Published by: Latvijas Kultūras akadēmija
Keywords: Germanic mythology; Scandinavian mythology; fantasy genre literature; The Lord of the Rings; traditional mythology; culture;

Summary/Abstract: The present paper is devoted to exploring the elements of Germanic and Scandinavian mythology in fantasy genre literature. The aim of this research was to verify the lasting and diverse impact of ancient myths as extensively important literary components of the Western culture on modern fiction. The author proceeds from the hypothesis that the literary fantasy genre is closely related to the traditional mythical narrative. The main focus of the paper is on decoding the most relevant references to Germanic and Scandinavian myths in the works of the most prominent author of the fantasy genre - J.R.R. Tolkien. The article compares the mythical structures, surroundings and elements in his most popular epic fantasy work "The Lord of the Rings" to apparently corresponding elements in traditional Germanic and Scandinavian mythological texts, such as Poetic and Prose Edda, Volsunga saga, Das Niebelungenlied and others. The analysis discovered similarities in themes covered and elements used both by mythological texts and fantasy narrative - similarities too close to be coincidental. This conclusion grounds the hypothesis that the fantastic literature of modern world, especially in English speaking cultures, draws heavily on the traditional mythology of the European countries. The paper defines fantasy genre as a unique literary phenomenon incorporating the traits of an oral narrative in the modern written prose.

  • Issue Year: 2/2006
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 310-321
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Latvian