Tattúínárdǿla saga: If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga

A great article by Dr. Jackson Crawford about the Germanic/Icelandic inspiration for the Star Wars Saga.

Tattúínárdǿla saga

A long time ago, in a North Atlantic far far away…

Introduction

Earlier this week I was drawn into an enlightening discussion with my colleague Ben Frey about the complicated textual tradition that lies behind George Lucas’s “Star Wars,” which few outside the scholarly community realize is a modern rendition of an old Germanic legend of a fatal conflict between a father and his treacherous son. Below I present some remarks on the Old Icelandic version of the legend, with some spare comparative notes on the cognate traditions in other old Germanic languages.

The story as presented in George Lucas’s films represents only one manuscript tradition, and a rather late and corrupt one at that – the Middle High German epic called Himelgengærelied (Song of the Skywalkers). There is also an Old High German palimpsest known to scholars, later overwritten by a Latin choral and only partly legible to us…

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History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

A great article on a classic of Old English Literature by Kristyn J. Miller.

Kristyn J. Miller

Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time, it presents literary scholars with a wellspring of opportunities to analyze symbolism and metaphor, as well as a look at the progression of our literary language.

Within the literary sphere, modern Beowulf criticism finds its origins in J.R.R. Tolkien. In his 1936 lecture at Oxford University, later transcribed as an essay, Tolkien argued:

I have read enough, I think, to venture the opinion that Beowulfiana is, while rich in many departments, specially poor in one. It is poor in criticism, criticism that is directed to the understanding of a poem as a poem.

The essay goes on to reaffirm the value…

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