Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman and the Myth of Týr: Addressing Contemporary Issues through Literary Tradition

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Abstract

The essay explores the way in which the Scandi-noir author Jo Nesbø reimagines the Norse myth of the Germanic god Týr (and also some other cognate mythological incidents) in his popular novel The Snowman (2007). Nesbø adapts these medieval myths to create allusive incidents and puzzles, and exploits the intellectual play of medievalism to produce a dense semantic meaning. The novel is thus able to explore and debate contemporary issues including the value of truth versus perspective (and context), the flawed dichotomy of victim and offender, and the tensions between individual and society. The analysis demonstrates not only the semantic density of Nesbø’s The Snowman, but also the relevance of the study of the cultural past for a proper understanding of modern society and of its literary production, a study favoring also a better grasp of its complex nature and issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalTHE YEAR'S WORK IN MEDIEVALISM
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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