First edition of this documentary history of the Vikings' artistic and cultural influence on England.
THE VIKING AGE
"The people of the North [...] possessed a degree of civilisation which would be difficult for us to realise were it not that the antiquities help us in a most remarkable manner [...] to corroborate the truthfulness of the Eddas and Sagas."
For hundreds of years, the reputation of the Vikings in England sat in an uneasy tension between an image of barbarism (partially inspired by a mistranslation of a famous Norse poem about drinking from the skulls of their enemies) and the beauty of the sagas and artifacts they left behind. Drawing heavily on documentary and archaeological evidence, Du Chaillu makes the claim that Nordic civilization was a significant influence upon the culture of the English-speaking peoples.
Du Chaillu's praise of the British Empire's imperialism, which he believed came directly from the Viking spirit, has come under both contemporary and modern criticism. Nevertheless, his comprehensive examination of the known Viking sites, artifacts, and songs has become foundational for the modern field of Nordic studies in England.
An English pop culture turning point, thanks to archaeology and literary criticism.
London: John Murray, 1889. Full title: The Viking Age: the early history, manners, and customs of the ancestors of the English-speaking nations. Illustrated from the antiquities discovered in mounds, cairns, and bogs as well as from the ancient sagas and eddas. Two octavo volumes. 8.75'' x 5.5''. Original full maroon cloth, gilt-panelled front boards with central gilt Nordic ornament, gilt-stamped spines, light blue floral printed endpapers, top and fore-edges uncut. Wood-engraved frontispieces and wood engravings of artifacts, archaeological sites, maps, and runes throughout. Appendices, including facsimiles of Nordic manuscripts, index, and one page of ads at rear of volume II. xx, 591, ; and viii, 562,  pages. Some bumping to boards and corners, endpapers and spines gently toned: gilt bright.
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