Baldr’s Bale

Baldr’s Bale – The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and history that were brought together between the Ninth and the Fourteenth Centuries. The first is the Elder Edda, written in verse, and collected by Samund the Wise before or about the year 1300. The Prose, or Younger, Edda, based largely upon the Elder Edda, was the work of Snorri Sturluson, who lived in the Thirteenth Century. The same writer composed the famous collection known as the Heimskringla.

Baldr’s Bale – The saga literature of Iceland is very extensive. Over two hundred volumes of these narratives are still in existence. Sagas were written and rewritten until the most finished products, like the Volsunga Saga, stand revealed as the work of genuine artists.

Iceland and Denmark have been in close relationship since the earliest days. The literature of Denmark dates back nearly a thousand years, but that country, like many others, does not emerge as a distinct entity of interest to the world at large until the Nineteenth Century, although occasional figures like those of Ludwig Holberg and Oehlenschlager stand out as exceptions.

The first of the modern writers is Hans Christian Andersen, a writer of genius whose fairy tales are the delight of the entire world. Meyer Goldschmidt, though he was of a more realistic turn of mind, developed a certain type of short story with rare skill and Drachmann, too, has done some excellent work in this form, though he was also a painter, poet, novelist, politician, and man of affairs.

With Jacobsen we come to the first outstanding Danish novelist. He is said to have initiated realistic and psychological fiction in Denmark, though his debt to Andersen is freely acknowledged.

Baldr`s Bale part 4

The iEsir took the body of Baldr and brought it to the sea. Hring- horni is the name of Baldr`s ship: it was greatest of all ships; the gods would have launched it and made Baldr`s pyre thereon, but the ship si i rred not forward. Then word was sent to Jotunheim after that giantess who is called Hyrrokkinn. When she had come, riding a wolf and having a viper for bridle, then she leaped off the steed; and Odin called to four berserks to tend the steed; but they were not able to hold it until they had felled it. Then Hyrrokkinn went to the prow of the boat and thrust it out at the first push, so that fire burst from the rollers, and all lands trembled. Thor became angry and clutched his hammer, and would straightway have broken her head, had not the gods prayed for peace for her.

Then was the body of Baldr borne out on shipboard; and when his wife, Nanna the daughter of Nep, saw that, straightway her heart burst with grief, and she died; she was borne to the pyre, and fi

Baldr`s Bale part 3

And Frigg took oaths to this purport, that fire and water should spare Baldr, likewise iron and metal of all kinds, stones, earth, trees, sicknesses, beasts, birds, venom, serpents. And when that was done and made known, then it was a diversion of Baldr`s and the Tesir, that he should stand up in the Thing, and all the others should some shoot at him, some hew at him, some beat him with stones; but whatsoever was done hurt him not at all, and that seemed to them all a very worshipful thing.

But when Loki Laufeyarson saw this, it pleased him ill that Baldr took no hurt. He went to Fensalir to Frigg, and made himself into the likeness of a woman. Then Frigg asked if that woman knew what the iEsir did at the Thing. She said that all were shooting at Baldr, and moreover, that he took no hurt. Then said Frigg: “Neither weapons nor trees may hurt Baldr: I have taken oaths of them all.” Then the woman asked: “Have all things taken oaths to spare Baldr?” and Frigg answer

Baldr`s Bale part 2

Bjomson, a dramatist, poet, novelist, writer of stories, and political leader, was a great national figure, dominating the intellectual life of his country for half a century. His short stories are exquisitely written idylls, whose influence was felt throughout all the Scandinavian countries. Of his younger contemporaries Alexander Kielland is probably the most important. Like Bjomson he felt the influence of Europe, and used his knowledge of foreign literature the better to depict the people of his native land.

Among contemporary Norwegian writers Knut Hamsun and Johan Bojer stand supreme. Both are best known by their novels of modem life, though both wrote some plays and short stories. Hamsun wrote only a few of the latter: Bojer devoted more time to the form and produced a few literary masterpieces.

Sweden, like Denmark, has a literature that dates back to the Middle Ages, and even in the Eighteenth Century could boast of several writers, but the late Nineteen

Baldr`s Bale part 1

The Scandinavian Countries

Iceland Denmark Norway Sweden

There are four groups included under the heading Scandinavian Countries: the Icelandic, the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish. Though there is an interesting modem Icelandic literature from which short stories could be selected for inclusion in this collection, the contribution of Iceland has been chosen from the Old Norse literature, which flourished nearly a thousand years ago, and which has since that time affected all the Scandinavian countries, England, France, and Germany.

On the other hand, the early beginnings of Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian literature are either too closely imitative of the Icelandic, or are not of themselves sufficiently interesting, and the most significant stories of those countries were written in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

The Icelandic story is found Imbedded in the Eddas and sagas, the great collections of mythology, religion, and