The Vikings and the Victorians
This is the first book-length treatment of the Victorians’ fascination with the old north. It explores the ways in which the terms ‘Viking’ and ‘Viking Age’, both unknown in 1800, were invented, explored and popularised during the nineteenth century. The material examined – published and unpublished – includes novels, poems, plays, lectures, reviews, secondary school textbooks, saga-stead travelogues, private correspondence, art and music, as well as dictionaries, grammars and scholarly editions of eddas and sagas. In the cast of characters Sir Walter Scott, William Morris, Edward Elgar and Rudyard Kipling appear alongside long-forgotten amateur enthusiasts from Lerwick to the Isle of Wight. We follow the pursuit of Viking-related archaeology, dialectology, folklore, philology, runology and mythology. We see the old north used to legitimise many concepts and causes – from buccaneering mercantilism and imperial expansion to jury trial and women’s rights. In drawing this wide range of materials together, Andrew Wawn presents a comprehensive and colourful account of the construction and translation of the Viking Age in Queen Victoria’s Britain.
Author: Andrew Wawn