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The Downfall of the Gods (Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation) Hardcover – April 1, 1989

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The familiar Norse gods who figure in this lively reworking of the classic Edda, include Odin, the oldest, and the chief; Freyja, goddess of love; Thor and Tyr, gods of war; and the interloper, mischievous, shape-changing Loki. Squabbling among themselves as they plan and wage their ongoing battle with the frost giants of Utgard (the far reaches of the world), they consider their relationship with humans (who is protecting whom?) and try to stay one step ahead of Ragnarok --chaos time, the end of the world, their downfall. In an afterword, the author compares the continuing struggle between the gods and giants to the human conflict between power and love. Finding the gods' stories surprisingly topical, he observes that his revisionist interpretation was protested by some who decried its focus on Ragnorak rather than Gimle , the new world that follows the gods' demise. He explains, "Myths are true at any time, but in every age their truth has to be interpreted and reassimilated." As his allegorical rendering demonstrates, the gods have much to tell us about ourselves, our fate detailed in timeless, imaginative narrative.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English, Danish (translation)

Product Details

  • Series: Modern Scandinavian Literature in Translation
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803242018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803242012
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,232,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In Sorenson's retelling of the coming of Ragnarok, the author treats the Norse Gods in much the same manner as Homer treated the Greek Deities--less like divinities and more like a large, noisy, and oftentimes dysfunctional family.
Everyone in Asgard has a personality and a private agenda. Odin is very much the distant father who, at the same time, aches because his duties simply will not permit him to have a closer relationship with his family. Loki, while certainly a trickster character, does possess flashes of regret for things as they come to pass with Ragnarok. Balder is just trying to get others to be decent to one another. Thor, while portrayed as a bit of a "redneck", is one of the most interesting characters. You can't help but admire his tenacity, especially over the retelling of his fishing expedition against the Great Serpent.
Another plus with this book is the author's afterword about why he chose to end the book with Ragnarok, and not to write about the paradisical remaking of the world.
Definitely worth keeping!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recieved the book before the promised "last date". The book was in a very good condition. I was glad to find a possibility to find this very special book in English language and to buy it second hand to a better price.
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