J.R.R Tolkien, The Inklings And Iceland

(From "Song of the Vikings"  with the kind permission by author Nancy Marie Brown )

What troubles the gods?  what troubles the elves?… would you know more, or not ? From Snorri's Edda...

"Tolkien believed too much time was spent on writers like Shakespeare, instead Tolkien thought, students should read Snorri Sturluson.  And not only Snorri but the other fine authors of the Icelandic sagas and the Eddic poems. And the students should read them in Old Norse.

See also how Tolkien was influenced by an Icelandic au-pair.

C.S. Lewis had read the mythological tales from Snorri's Edda in English as a boy. he found the Norse myths more compelling - as stories, he said - than even the Bible. Like Tolkien he was drawn to their Northernness, to their depictions of dragons and draws, fair elves and werewolves, wandering wizards, and trolls that turned into stone. To the sagas portrayal of men with a bitter courage who stood fast on the side of right and good, even when there was no hope at all.

Tolkien convinced his colleagues to substitute Snorri for Shakespeare by starting a club called The Kolbitar. A "coal biter" in the sagas is a lad who lounges by the fire instead of working, roused he transforms into a hero, an outlaw and both!  

Tolkien and his colleagues started by translating the medieval Icelandic poetry. The began with the myths in Snorri's Edda. A few years later, having finished the major Icelandic sagas and the mythological verse in the Poetic Edda, the club morphed into The Inklings, were they read their own works.  One of those works was The Hobbit."

Read more on:

nancymariebrown.blogspot.com

" From the book ; Song of the Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown". Sold in our store in Snorrastofa

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