Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Nordische Philologie 2020.2


Ever­green ash: ecol­o­gy and cat­a­stro­phe in Old Norse myth and lit­er­a­ture
Norse mythol­o­gy is obsessed with the idea of an onrush­ing and unstop­pable apoc­a­lypse: Rag­narok, when the whole of cre­ation will per­ish in fire, smoke, and dark­ness and the earth will no longer sup­port the life it once nur­tured. Most of the Old Norse texts that pre­serve the myths of Rag­narok orig­i­nat­ed in Ice­land, a nation whose vol­canic activ­i­ty places it per­pet­u­al­ly on the brink of a world-chang­ing envi­ron­men­tal cat­a­stro­phe. As the first full-length eco­crit­i­cal study of Old Norse myth and lit­er­a­ture, Ever­green Ash argues that Rag­narok is pri­mar­i­ly a sto­ry of eco­log­i­cal col­lapse that reflects the anx­i­eties of ear­ly Ice­landers who were try­ing to make a home in a pro­found­ly strange, mar­gin­al, and at times hos­tile envi­ron­ment.
Christo­pher Abram here con­tends that Rag­narok offers an uncan­ny fore­shad­ow­ing of our cur­rent glob­al eco­log­i­cal crisis—the era of the Anthro­pocene. Rag­narok por­tends what may hap­pen when a civ­i­liza­tion believes that nature can be mas­tered and treat­ed only as a resource to be exploit­ed for human ends. The endur­ing pow­er of the Rag­narok myth, and its rel­e­vance to life in the era of cli­mate change, lies in its ter­ri­fy­ing evo­ca­tion of a world in which noth­ing is what it was before, a world that is no longer home to us—and, thus, a world with no future. Cli­mate change may well be our Rag­narok.
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Con­tem­po­rary nordic lit­er­a­ture and spa­tial­i­ty
This open access col­lec­tion offers a detailed map­ping of recent Nordic lit­er­a­ture and its dif­fer­ent gen­res (fic­tion, poet­ry, and children’s lit­er­a­ture) through the per­spec­tive of spa­tial­i­ty. Con­cen­trat­ing on con­tem­po­rary Nordic lit­er­a­ture, the book presents a dis­tinc­tive view on the spa­tial turn and widens the under­stand­ing of Nordic lit­er­a­ture out­side of can­on­ized authors. Exam­in­ing lit­er­a­tures by Dan­ish, Nor­we­gian, Swedish, and Finnish authors, the chap­ters inves­ti­gate a recur­rent theme of social crit­i­cism and ana­lyze this crit­i­cism against the wel­fare state and pow­er hier­ar­chies in spa­tial terms. The chap­ters explore var­i­ous nar­ra­tive worlds and spaces—from the urban to parks and forests, from tex­tu­al spaces to spa­tial the­mat­ics, study­ing these spa­tial fea­tures in rela­tion to the prob­lems of late moder­ni­ty.
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