Northern Lights in Icelandic Literature

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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The northern lights (

aurora borealis

) are widely mentioned in Icelandic sources, even if most of them date from the modern age. Such sources were recently treated in comparative research, which showed that stories about the northern lights and conceptions of belief related to them must be considered traditional in Iceland. Various kinds of superstition are directly associated with the northern lights, and it may be that they inspired myths and were aligned with the gods and other supernatural powers (Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir, “Of Wavering Flames and Fires: Northern Lights in Icelandic Sources”).

Usually it is thought that Íslandslýsing (Lat. Qualiscunque descriptio Islandiae) [Description of Iceland], which has long been attributed to Bishop Oddur Einarsson (1589–1630) in

1799 words

Citation: Guðmundsdóttir, Aðalheiður. "Northern Lights in Icelandic Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 December 2022 [, accessed 15 June 2024.]

19648 Northern Lights in Icelandic Literature 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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