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That Scandinavian saga

 
 
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 10:06 am
What Scandinavian saga was Nietzsche quoting in b g e 260: "Wotan has placed a hard heart in my breast" ?
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 3,144 • Replies: 10
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Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 10:20 am
Leaving aside that it sounds much like a stock phrase--something the skalds relied heavily upon--i doubt that the source was "Scandinavian." Wotan is what the Germans called that god--the Norse and the Danes called that god Odin. Perhaps the people we now call the Swedes (who, as late as the 14th century called themselves Goths) called that god Wotan. However, there is no way we can know, as they were not commonly literate, and, as with all the old Norse sagas, they were only written down in records which survive after those people were converted to Christianity.

I suggest to you that the source was German, simply because he says Wotan, and not Odin.
Jedothek
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 10:45 am
@Setanta,
Setanta,

I appreciate your responding to my question, but in the interest of furthering the discussion, I shall express a disagreement . Nietzsche presents the statement in what I assume is a translation : "Ein hartes Herz legte Wotan mir in die Brust" and in translating from Old Icelandic into High German it would have been natural to translate Odin or Odhinn or whatever into Wotan. Compare Wagner and his use of the Volsunga Saga.
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 11:10 am
@Jedothek ,
Setanta is quite correct. The mythology of all the Teutonic people -- including those people who later came to be known as Scandinavians -- was quite uniform. I see no reason at all to assume that Nietzsche was quoting a Nordic text inasmuch as he himself was German, not Scandinavian.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 11:23 am
@Setanta,
Actually, Nietzsche really wrote
Quote:
"Ein hartes Herz legte Wotan mir in die Brust" heisst es in einer alten skandinavischen Saga
Nietzsche used 'Wotan' synonymously for 'Odin' - which was done quite often (and still is).
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 11:25 am
@Walter Hinteler,
OK. The full quote makes a difference. Thank you,Walter. Yes, Odin/Wotan are interchangeable terms.
Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 11:45 am
@Lustig Andrei,
When the Saxons were receiving the Christian baptism, they weren't only summoned to renounce the devil but all daemons, Wotan and Týr as well. (Saxnote = Týr = Ziu [in German])

Saxon abrenuntiatio diaboli :
"Forsachistu Diabolæ?" "Ek forsachu Diabolæ, Thunaer ende Wodan ende Saxnote."
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Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 11:48 am
If the author of the thread alleges that he was quoting an Icelandic saga, i would point out once again that such a phrase sounds like a stock phrase that a skald would have used in his poems. I know of no saga tradition which is richer than that of Iceland. There are literally thousands of pages of text which have come down to us from the period in the Christian history of Iceland during which the sagas were first committed to writing. The oldest fragments date probably to a century or more after the sagas were first written down, and most from several centuries later--most copies are recensions. That, however, would not matter to this question. I've read quite a few of the Icelandic sagas--Floamana, Laxdaela, the Short Saga, the Eirik Raudi saga, the Leif Eiriksson saga, the Thorfinn Karlsefni saga--so many in fact, that i can't recall them all just off the top of my head. There are also the great historic works of early Icelandic literature, such as the Landnamabok and the Hauksbok. I suggest that unless you come across a specialist scholar who already knows the answer to this question, you are unlikely to get an answer online. Especially if this is not a stock phrase, since it would require a profound knowledge of a literature of thousands of pages. If it is a stock phrase, the only way you would ever get a reliable answer would be if Nietzsche told someone the source, and that someone wrote it down.
Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2012 12:07 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
I suggest that unless you come across a specialist scholar who already knows the answer to this question, you are unlikely to get an answer online. Especially if this is not a stock phrase, since it would require a profound knowledge of a literature of thousands of pages. If it is a stock phrase, the only way you would ever get a reliable answer would be if Nietzsche told someone the source, and that someone wrote it down.
Nietzsche often invoked "Scandinavian" sagas and 'sources' to elaborate the character of "Herrenmensch".
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Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2012 04:32 am
Yes, well, i refrained from commenting earlier, but without more context, i see no reason to assume the source were Icelandic, given the quote you provided. Nietzsche was a philologist, so he was likely able to read the older versions of the languages of Scandinavia.
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Joklar
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Jan, 2018 08:11 pm
@Jedothek ,
It's a paraphrase from Hálfs saga ok Hálfsrekka (The Saga of Half and His Heroes):

Ek hefi hjarta
hart í brjósti,
síz mér í æsku
Óðinn framdi.

English translation by Peter Tunstall:

Hard is the heart
I have in my breast.
As a child I found
favour with Odin.
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