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Monday, February 4, 2013

Celts and Germans - Professor Timothy B. Shutt

Professor Timothy B. Shutt presents Celts and Germans: The Enduring Heritage of the European Northlands in a four disc set, consisting of 8 lectures that focus mostly on the surviving literature to convey the cultures' continued influence on our own.

Shutt first introduces his listeners to the Celtic and Germanic cultures by explaining their history, their territories, and their religion.

After the introduction, Shutt jumps right into The Eddas by Saemund Sigfusson and Snorri Sturleson, which contains the religious stories of the Germanic and Nordic (Norse) people. The lecturer gives a wonderful and detailed description of the beginning of the world, along with his own commentary on other tales contained in the Eddas. The lectures on Volsunga Saga and Njal's Saga are excellent, as well.

The lectures then move to the Celtic region. The lecture on the English tale Beowulf is up next, followed by analysis of several interesting Irish tales.

He goes on to discuss the tradition of courtly love and finally to the symbolic tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Those who are already familiar with the material probably will not find anything new here. However, those who are interested in getting acquainted with these traditions will find this to be an informative and entertaining listen.

Recommended Reads:
Prose Edda - translated and annotated by Jesse L. Byock
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - retold by J.R.R. Tolkien

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