Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Reason to Study Old Norse: You Can Keep Up with Teen Lit

by J J Cohen

Although I did not go myself (I was in the Hermit Hut, working on a @#$%! Mandeville lecture), my son last night attended a Christopher Paolini book signing. Like all imaginative eleven year olds, Alex is a big fan of this guy's work. I'd been looking at the title of Paolini's latest volume, Brisingr, ever since Alex brought it home, discerning a vague familiarity in the word (to be honest, I seldom see my son's face any more: it is hidden perpetually behind this colossal book). Alex's big news about the reading -- other than the fact that Paolini is home schooled and, like, eleven years old himself -- was that brisingr is Old Norse. I knew it had a fiery resonance to it, and that masculine nominative ending should have been a giveaway of some sort ... Anyway, Paolini is apparently a big fan of Norse mythology.

Maybe I'll even read one of his books.


Mary Kate Hurley said...

Over the summer, when reading 500 page novels meant for kids Alex's age was kind of what I did in my spare time, I read Paolini's Eldest. I actually found the whole Norse thing a bit distracting -- it's like not-quite Norse, so I spent a bunch of time feeling like I should either look it up or correct the grammar.

But Eldest was a surprisingly good read. Then again, it has dragons -- what's not to love?

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Is Paolini doing his own writing yet?

His own worst enemy said...

He always has.......
As for me, I have acess to an Old Norse -English dictionary, and none of the words quite seem to fit. :P