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The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature Paperback – March 21, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Originally published in 1943, this book was written using a variety of evidence from archaeology and literature concerning Norse funeral customs to reconstruct their conception of future life, the soul of man, the cult of the dead, and the journey to the land of the dead.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reissue edition (March 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 110763234X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107632349
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Nelson on May 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful exploration of the Germanic death paradigm(s).. Anything written by this author is well worth the read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jen on June 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ellis-Davidson is immensely knowledgeable and detailed while still maintaining an accessible and interesting style. I only wish more of her work was available on Kindle!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Maxwell-watson on June 3, 2013
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Hilda Roderick Ellis-Davidson's works remain as some of the most informative, scholarly and easily read books on Northern European culture. This particular work focuses on the disposal of the Norse dead and their religious practices surrounding the subject. Well worth the cost!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Emanuelson on January 1, 2014
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Hilda Roderick Ellis is a respected and famous scholar of Norse history. This book has long been out of print and even a battered used copy goes for mega-bucks, if you can find one. I was very happy to find this re-print at an affordable price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joey on April 27, 2015
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Although this is an academic work, where the author does not translate many old Norse terms into English, this book can still be enjoyed by the general reader with a passion for Norse literature and mythology. Davidson is a known author in the field. Here, she comes to some interesting conclusions about how the dead are perceived by the living, and what exactly happens to a person when they die. We've all read about how Vikings that die go to Valhalla to enjoy perennial feasting and fighting. But as the author shows, this is just one side of the story. The whole picture is much more complicated. The views of pagan Scandinavians changed over the years, and there were different views of life after death. Davidson touches on many fascinating beings that are relevant to the topic: gods, Valkyries, elves, land spirits, giants and ghosts. Although some parts of this work caused me some confusion ( and questions that I wish I could ask the author), this is a rewarding read for those who want to broaden their understand of Norse mythology, literature and religion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Heather OBrien on March 3, 2015
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A wonderful read provided by HR Ellis-Davidson that provides a comprehensive and detailed view into the afterlife from a Norse perspective. Even more than that, it gives example of heathen worldview which is important in understanding how Germanic people's lived (and died) from a more religious perspective in regards to this context. I'd highly recommend it for anyone studying Germanic history, heathens, and students of anthropology.
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