Old Norse Cultural Influence in the Work of Christina M. Costie

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This paper examines the work of 20th century Orkney writer Christina Mackay Costie in order to assess whether it is possible to trace any Old Norse cultural influence. As awareness rose in Orkney in the 19th century onwards of Orkney¿s
past as a Norse earldom, and English translations of Old Norse literature became available to a British readership, Old Norse literature began to have a strong influence on Orcadian literature and continues to do so today. Most of Christina Mackay Costie¿s work does not readily fit into the framework of this type of 20th-century Orcadian literature. However, closer inspection reveals another strand of influence arising from Old Norse folklore, myth, and legend which may have entered Costie¿s work through Orkney¿s living oral storytelling tradition and traditional customs and beliefs, making the Old Norse heritage found in her work something more genuine and different from that in literature inspired by the influence of Victorian translations of Old Norse literature, especially the sagas. Methodologically, the paper represents a cross-fertilization between folkloristics and literary analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the North Atlantic
VolumeSpecial Volume 4/2013
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013
EventSt Magnus Conference - Kirkwall, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Apr 201116 Apr 2011


  • Scottish studies
  • Nordic studies
  • Scottish Literature
  • Scottish cultural studies
  • Scandinavia


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