The American Discovery of the Norse: An Episode in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Synopsis

"The interest of a group of American writers in the Norse (Viking Age Scandinavians) began to develop in the late 1830s, reaching its high point at mid-century and tapering off after the Civil War as the members of the group neared the end of their careers (only one of the authors discussed, Julia Clinton Jones, joins the club at the end of the period). This period, defined as the original phase of the American discovery of the Norse, features two essayists, Emerson and Thoreau, who refer to the Norse in writing on a variety of topics. Fiction is represented by Melville alone (American writers of fiction like Stowe and Hawthorne shun the Norse). Neither the essayists nor Melville uses Norse themes as their primary subject. That is reserved for the poets: Lowell, Whittier, Taylor, Longfellow, and Julia Clinton Jones." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved