Anyone who knows me knows that---in stereotypical American fashion---I identify strongly with my European heritage, especially during the holiday season when lots of old traditions are dredged up each year. I'm German American. I am aware that many native-born Germans turn up their nose at Americans claiming German ancestry, but I'd like to think I… Continue reading Holiday Heritage: Springerle
I am very excited to announce that I have signed with Amy Stapp of Wolfson Literary Agency!
In this podcast, I got to talk with Anne at Armchair Historians about something I haven't really discussed on my blog before: the Schleswig-Holstein wars and the rise of a cohesive German identity throughout the 19th century.
Anyone familiar with Iceland has likely heard something about turf houses, the iconic grass-roofed houses that grace the countryside, carried over from insulation methods in medieval Norway. I wrote once before about Rútshellir, a famous old cave guarded by a turf-covered barn. But while the cave itself might be the oldest man-made residence in Iceland,… Continue reading A Visit to Keldur, Iceland
Check out my recent discussion with Luke and Dan over at Northern Myths. We cover the comparative myth of Siegfried/Sigurd, references to related legends in the Beowulf manuscript, and more.
Dragon-like figures feature prominently in folklore from around the world. They often hold---or once held---special significance to their respective cultures. Chinese dragons historically symbolized good luck and imperial power, and were used in iconography surrounding the emperor. The founder of the Han dynasty went so far as to claim that his mother dreamt of a… Continue reading Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature
Anyone who's studied the English canon has likely been exposed to the famous daffodils in "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." William Wordsworth was undoubtedly passionate about the natural world in general--it featured prominently in his poetry, and, together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, he was grouped rather disparagingly as one of the… Continue reading Death of the Author: An Analysis of Wordsworth
It's a song commonly played to ring in the New Year, bidding farewell to the old. Across the English-speaking world, it's used for graduations, for funerals, for any major transitional period in one's life. As a result, pretty much everyone is familiar with the tune. But growing up, I never knew anyone who was actually… Continue reading Dialects in Literature: A Look at Robert Burns
Check out the Keeping Up with Joe podcast, run by fellow writer Joseph Anderson, for insight on myth, history, linguistics, and more.
Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time, it presents literary scholars with a… Continue reading History through Poems: Examining Beowulf