The boats of Haitian refugees being turned away from the Land of Opportunity. These are among the many racially-charged images that have burst across our television screens in the last year alone, images that show that for all our complacent beliefs in a melting-pot society, race is as much of a problem as ever in America.
Cusack Originally published in: Studies in Religion and Reception 3, no. Images and video added by "The Wagnerian" Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen is a Romantic work that draws on medieval narrative and thematic elements e.
Wagner's cycle is a polyvalent work of art and can be interpreted as exemplifying both secularisation, as the gods of Valhalla give way to humanity, and re-enchantment, in that its performance allows the gods of Germanic myth to "live" on stage.
This article addresses the issue of reception by looking at Wagner's medievalism, the modern Heathenry movement and its use of the Pagan past as a source of legitimation, and finally by examining attendance of performances of the Ring as a significant secular ritual activity that engages with Pagan gods and brings them to modern audiences, Heathen and otherwise.
Wagner's epic operatic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen henceforth the Ring is a nineteenth-century romantic work, which incorporates a range elements of medieval Germanic mythology into its narrative.
The Heathenry discussed is principally Anglophone Asatni, which emerged in the early s as a modern Pagan response to this same seminal mythology. The Ring and Heathenry are alike in important ways: Although not all Heathens approve of Wagner's approach to medieval texts or vision of the gods, there is a fascinating congruence between the approach to the past and its perceived relevance to the present, which both the Ring and Heathenry exhibit through their particular and selective reception of the Norse medieval texts.
The Ring demonstrates that mythology continues to have relevance for contemporary, technological, broadly post-Christian Western audiences. Luc Brisson argues that myth is a "testimony to a stage of development of the human mind, its discursive organization, and even its logic.
In their original context, the Eddas contained ritual and religion, but they later came to be valued as art and literature, rather than for their theological content. Yet the Ring is also a site of re-enchantment, in that its performance caused the gods of Germanic myth to "live" on stage and to inspire modern Pagans, who began reviving their worship around the same time that the Ring first dazzled audiences at Bayreuth, in The first introduces Richard Wagner's debt to medieval sources in the creation of the Ring, and his own contribution to modern medievalism.
These range from outright rejection of the Ring as divergent from the medieval sources and tainted by nineteenth-century Romanticism, to acceptance of it as a powerful representation of the deities and cosmology of the Norse Pagan religion.
It is clear that— whether their evaluation of the Ring is positive or negative—Heathens value medieval narrative and Norse mythology highly, and perceive these texts as major sources of identity.
Wagner and the Medieval Sources The Ring at its premiere in comprised four operas: Richard Wagner —83 began work on an opera called Siegfrieds Tod inbut in he was exiled for taking part in the failed Dresden uprising and fled to Switzerland. Until Ludwig II of Bavaria became his patron in Wagner endured financial hardship and domestic upheaval.
When he completed the Ring, the god Wotan, rather than the hero Siegfried, had become central to "the drama, a figure of immense complexity, a compound of idealism Wagner conceived the Ring as a Gesamtkunstwerk total work of art and, as Jonathan Carr has observed, he had "some original ideas about how this colossus should be displayed; over four evenings before an audience that did not have to pay, and in a wooden building designed along the lines of a Greek theatre, which would be burned down after the last night.
Wagner gives Freia guardianship of the apples of youth, while in Norse myths they are the responsibility of the minor goddess IcSunn, wife of the poet deity Bragi.
The single giant becomes the brothers Fasolt and Fafner, and while Loge assists Wotan to cheat them of Freia, he does not transform into a mare. The former poem, without suggesting that the vblva is their mother, tells of the three Norns who tend the World Ash, and Wagner takes the volva's refrain, "Know ye further, or how?
The building of the fortress is derived from Snorri's Edda.
Haymes observed that the author of the Nibelungenlied "set out to explore ethical and political questions of his time using a traditional story.
The Romantic may involve, but is not exhausted by, phenomena such as "a love of the exotic, a revolt from Reason, an exaggeration of individualism, a liberation of the unconscious, a reaction against scientific method, a revival of pantheism,Since the Anglo-Saxon people immigrated to Britain from the Norse regions, it logically follows that Beowulf would leave Britain to perform his tasks in Scandinavia.
Norse mythology relates the legends of its tribes while memorializing the clans' founders in . Apr 24, · Many of those groups (such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Goths) left very little evidence behind in the way of complete mythologies, but in the Icelandic sagas and Old Norse tradition, we have extensive records of a mythology surrounding the Aesir and Vanir deities in the Poetic Edda.
"The Literary Character of Anglo-Saxon Literary Poetry. and the analysis suggests that some Old English lyrics in contrast to narrative poems could theoretically have been composed orally and that Old English oral poetry.". The poet links Beowulf with the the legendary hero Sigemund, from a series of tales from the Old Norse Volsunga Saga that an Anglo-Saxon audience would know.
The effect is to build on an existing narrative and perhaps foreshadow coming events in Beowulf.
The anonymous Old English poem known as The Wanderer is preserved only in the Exeter Book, a compilation most likely written down around the year The poem provides a striking first-person lament spoken by an Anglo-Saxon warrior who wanders the world alone after losing his lord and companions.
The legends of Sigurd and the Völsungs were known in some form; there’s a section of Beowulf (–) in which a poet tells the story of Sigurd killing the dragon, although he attributes it to Sigmund, who is Sigurd’s father in the Norse version of things.