Gods Of The Ancient Northmen * Georges Dumézil (1959)

Gods Of The Ancient NorthmenThe irony! Between 1965 and 1971 the American professor Aunar Haugen and his students started to translate Dumézil’s Les Dieux des Germains (1959) because there was hardly any literature of Dumézil available in English. Nowadays you can buy several books by Dumézil in English, but the book that I wanted to read most, is only available second hand. It is even worse, this out-of-print book is so popular that incredible prices are asked for it. I paid close to 40 euros for a 155 page paperback full of mildew, stripes and notes. But as least I fianlly got to read the most interesting work of Dumézil. The English version is a translation of the reworked article about Germanic gods, introduced nicely by Scott Littleton and supplemented with four great articles about Byggvir and Beyla, the Rigsthula, Heimdall and “cosmic bestiary” (mostly the Yggdrasil and its inhabitents). Needless to say that this is a great book with deep insides, comparisons with other mythologies, groundbreaking theories, information about other hypothesis and even when the book is pretty old and I have read my share of Germanic mythology and Dumézil, the writer is able to surprise with some extraordinary insights and ideas. Regardless the price, this book is a must-buy for anyone interested in Teutonic mythology, compartive mythology (German with Dumézil’s often used Indian and Iranian mostly, but also Celtic and other mythologies) and Dumézil’s idea about the tripartite division of the over- and underworld and how he came to his idea that the Germanic world of the gods, ‘dropped half a stage’ in that very tripartite division.
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Read quotes of Dumézil here.
1959 * isbn 052035070

One comment

  1. This is when abebooks(.co.uk) comes in good for getting out of print books such as this 🙂

    And its a bit cheaper than 40 euros, last I looked.

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