Using such terms as myth, mythical and mythological can be a complicated task as they can imply various and different connotations, largely dependent upon the user. In this book, mythology is going to be referred to as a set of myths related to a particular society, that of the Norwegian people and the way they are transmitted through and used in contemporary Norwegian literature. The main endeavor will be to look at how and why the material from The Poetic Edda and Snorri’s Edda is (re)used in the work of contemporary Norwegian writers, meaning books published after the turn of the century and until 2015, the year when the present book started to take form.
The theoretical term that will be employed to refer to the narratives that draw their inspiration from the Norse literature is ‘rewriting’, a term introduced by the critics of the twentieth-century literature who constantly focus on the idea that the stories told and written during the twentieth-century make readers ‘think more and more of the original meaning of telling as re-citare, ‘quotation’ of former stories’ (Moraru xi). Even though the term is quite new, it actually describes practices that have been used for a long time and several Norwegian writers of the twenty-first century seem to be controlled by the same urge to retell the Norse myths in a new form. As it will be shown, the rewriting practised by the Norwegian writers whose novels will be discussed in the following book is not a ‘quotation’ of the old myths, but a more complex process that will be studied in the next chapters.