Religion, Science and Ideology in Germany and Sweden
The Eddic Myth between Academic and Religious Interpretations Debora Dusse 1. Preliminary Note The reception of the Eddic myth in the twentieth century has left its mark in litera- ture, music, art, scholarship, propaganda and so on. One phenomenon catches the eye in the context of Nordic ideology1: In the academic reception one finds sec- ondary fields of endeavour documenting an interest in the subject, which goes be- yond a research interest in the narrower sense and has religious as well as ideologi- cal connotations. In this context, one can speak of a “surplus value” of the Eddic literature in the time of Nordic ideology. Even before the twentieth century, there are examples of academic authors, such as the German expert of legal history Felix Dahn (1834–1912), who used the Old Norse tradition in his academic research as well as for literary, religious and political purposes. Dahn turned to the Eddic myth with his most well-known work, his historical novel Ein Kampf um Rom (1867), and in some religiously themed writ- ing, such as Skalden-Kunst (1882), and when he was engaged with the propaganda of the nationalistic German movement in the Habsburger Reich. Some academics in the first half of the twentieth century who worked in the field of the Germanic and the Old Norse tradition and were concerned with Nor- dic ideology show similar tendencies in their use of the Eddic myth in their scholar- ship and political activity. Like Felix Dahn, who fought for the German nation...
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