Book details

Publication date: October 2016
Features: 3 B&W photographs, bibliography, notes, index
Keywords: The North / Folklore & Mythology
Subject(s): SOCIAL SCIENCE / Folklore & Mythology, The North / Folklore & Mythology, Folklore, Circumpolar, Anthropology, HISTORY / Polar Regions, BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Supernatural (incl. Ghosts), History of specific lands, The North / Folklore & Mythology
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is a lecturer in medieval literature at Durham University in the UK. Danielle Marie Cudmore is a lecturer at Halmstad University in Sweden. Stefan Donecker is a research fellow at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

"[T]his book is not only diverse and engaging, it also sheds light on the normative role of ‘the north’ in time and space as well as within different cultural contexts.... I therefore applaud the editors for having compiled a captivating volume of northern research which I wholeheartedly recommend for scholars of Scandinavian and Arctic studies, literary studies or cultural studies in general." [Full review at]

Nikolas Sellheim, Polar Record

“This is a North populated by gods, witches, real and imagined invaders, allegorical figures, monsters from the margins of maps, spirits, demons, and trolls.... Sixteen scholars from twelve countries across Europe, North America, and Australia explore particular instances of the North’s symbolic geography.... Notes and bibliographies throughout, and a really excellent index at the end, round out a good scholarly work. It belongs on the shelf of polar collections … [and] collections on the history of Western science, literature, or religion.” [Full review at]

Shelly Sommer, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 49:4

William Mills Prize, United States
Introduction ix
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, Danielle Marie Cudmore, and Stefan Donecker

PART I | ANCIENT ROOTS The Menace and the Divine
1 In Jewish Lore, Not Only Evil Descends From the North 3
Ya’acov Sarig
2 The Realm of the North in Ancient Greek Proverbs 25
Maria Kasyanova
3 The Ancient Greek Myth of Hyperborea 39
Its Supernatural Aspects and Frameworks of Meaning
Athanasios Votsis

The Monstrous and the Demonic
4 Monstra septentrionalia 55
Supernatural Monsters of the Far North in Medieval Lore
Rudolf Simek
5 From Eiríkr the Red to Trolls in the Wilderness 77
The Development of Supernatural Greenland in the Old Norse Sagas
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough
6 Winter’s Flesh 95
Septentrio and the Monstrous Female Body in Late Medieval
Medicine and Theology
Brenda s. Gardenour Walter
7 The Supernatural Image of Iceland in Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1634) 109
Stefan Donecker
PART I II | T HE NI NETEENTH C ENTURY The Scientific and the Spiritual
8 Imagining the Celtic North 131
Science and Romanticism on the Fringes of Britain
Angel a Byrne
9 Mesmerism and Victorian Arctic Exploration 149
Shane McCorristine
10 Myths of Iceland and Mount Hekla and their Deconstruction 165
Ida Pfeiffer’s Journey to Iceland
Jennifer E. Michael s
11 Moon Men and Inland Dwellers 185
The Dissemination of Greenlandic Legends and Myths in the Writings of
Hinrich Rink and Knud Rasmussen
Silvije Habulinec

PART I V | C ONTEMPORARY P ERSPECTIVES The Desire for a Supernatural North
12 A Distant Northern Land 205
Nabokov’s Zembla and Aesthetic Bliss
Brian Walter
13 The Idea of North 217
Intertextuality and Environmentalism in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass
Danielle Marie Cudmore
14 The Elf in Self 235
The Influence of Northern Mythology and Fauna on Contemporary Spiritual Subcultures
Jay Johnston
15 A Blaze in the Northern Sky 251
Semiotic Strategies of Constructing the Supernatural North in Music Subcultures
Jan Leichsenring
16 Men, Women, and Shamans 275
Daily Ritual Practice in the Supernatural North
Erica Hill
Contributors 293
Index 299
ISBNs: 9781772122671 978-1-77212-267-1 Title: imagining the supernatural north ISBNs: 9781772122930 978-1-77212-293-0 Title: imagining the supernatural north ISBNs: 9781772122947 978-1-77212-294-7 Title: imagining the supernatural north ISBNs: 9781772122954 978-1-77212-295-4 Title: imagining the supernatural north