1st Edition

Odin’s Ways A Guide to the Pagan God in Medieval Literature

By Annette Lassen Copyright 2022
    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is about the Old Norse god Odin. It includes references to all occurrences of Odin in the Old Norse/Icelandic texts, including Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, the eddic poems, Snorri’s Edda, and Ynglinga saga and analyses the high medieval reception and literary representations of Odin rather than the religious character of the god.

    This is the only existing study of Odin in all the Old Norse/Icelandic texts and applies a contextual method: the different guises of Odin are studied on the basis of the various textual contexts and on their background in the literary and Christian intellectual milieu of the time. Contrary to existing studies, this method is non-reductive in that it does not aim at providing a synthesis about Odin’s original nature on the basis of the differing textual uses of Odin in the Middle Ages.

    The book argues that the perceived complexity of Odin, often highlighted in research, is first and foremost a function of the complex textual material spanning a wide variety of genres each with its particular literary conventions and of the reception of Odin in early modern and modern mythological studies.


    1. Introduction

    2. The Reception of Odin in Research

    3. Excursus: The Vocabulary of ‘Myth’ in an Old Norse/Icelandic Context

    4. Odin and the Roman gods in Early Latin Texts and Old Norse/Icelandic Translations

    5. The Ecclesiastical explanations of Paganism

    6. Odin in Various Old Norse/Icelandic Genres

    7. Odin in the Contemporary Saga Sturlunga saga

    8. Odin in the Courtly Romances (riddarasögur)

    9. Odin in Kings’ Sagas (konungasögur)

    10. Odin in the Legendary Sagas (fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda)

    11. Odin in Skaldic Poetry

    12. Odin in the Gesta Danorum

    13. Odin in Ynglinga saga

    14. Odin in Snorri’s Edda

    15. Odin in the Eddic Poems

    16. Conclusion


    Annette Lassen, since 2021 associate professor at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, has published articles and books on Old Norse mythology, sagas of Icelanders (The World of the Sagas of Icelanders, 2022 (in Danish 2017)), legendary sagas (Oldtidssagaernes verden, 2021), eddic poems and the early modern reception of Old Icelandic literature along with an edition of Hrafnagaldur Óðins / Forspjallsljóð (2011), scholarly anthologies on legendary sagas Fornaldarsagornas struktur och ideologi, 2003, Fornaldarsagaerne: Myter og virkelighed, 2009, Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda: Uppruni og þróun, 2012) and Völuspá (The Nordic Apocalypse: Aproaches to Völuspá and Nordic Days of Judgement, 2013). She has also published translations of the complete legendary sagas and sagas of Icelanders in Danish (Oldtidssagaerne, 2016-2019, Islændingesagaerne, 2014).