Category Archives: study notes

On the impersonal tone of the sagas

From P. Borges: “the word saga is related to sagen, to say, in German. They started out as oral and were later written down, but because they were originally oral , the narrator was forbidden to enter into the mind of the heroes. He could not… Say that a person hated or loved; this would be to intrude upon the… (more…)

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Read another Borges interview.

the Celts

Borges, selected non-fictions, p. 458 – 463 the concept of an academy and the celts In no other part of the world has literary life been organized in such a rigorous manner as among the Celtic nations, which I shall attempt to prove, or more exactly, recall. I spoke of the literature of the Celts: the term is vague. They… (more…)

history of Old Norse

Gordon: The home of the oldest Norse culture and the oldest Norse traditions was Sweden, though these traditions had to be carried to distant Iceland before they were given an enduring form…From the beginning of history energetic warlike tribes issued from Sweden and passed to a career of conquest in the south; in the phrase kid the Gothic historian Jordanes,… (more…)

literature of early medieval europe – fragments

“In every instance, poetry comes before prose. It seems that man sings before he speaks. But there are other very important reasons for this.” A verse follows a pattern and becomes a formula. Prose is shapeless and messy, much more complicated, in a way. (p4) In Germanic verse, lines run together without breaks or punctuation. The key to finding structure… (more…)

history of early medieval europe – fragments

A.D. 449 – Rome falls and its legions withdraw from Britain.”This was an extremely important event because the country was left withouth the defenses it had counted on and was vulnerable to attacks by the Picts from the north and the Saxons from the east.” (Professor Borges, p1) “English literature starts to develop at the end of the 7th or… (more…)

books to buy

Borges & Vazquez. Medieval Germanic Literatures (literaturas germanicas medievales) Borges. The Last Interview Padilla, Ignacio. Antipodes: Stories Tacitus. Germania  

biographies to study

padilla borges lewis macdonald chesterton wynne jones bellairs tolkien pratchett

icelandic alphabet pronunciation

a is similar to a in father. á like ow in down. e like e in bed. é like ye in yes. i like i in hid. o like aw in law ó like oh. u pronounce “i” with rounded lips. ú like o in who. y like i in hid. ý like ea in heat. æ like i in… (more…)

german kennings

“[Germanic] poetry had developed another hierarchical poetic instrument: that is, kennings – descriptive, crystallized metaphors.” Poetic themes and elements were very redundant, and they did not begin or end with similar sounds, so the usual poetic rhythm was hard to establish. “For this poetry, which was only epic, they formed compound words to denote things whose names did not begin… (more…)