Norse, Celtic & Germanic Myths, Folklore & Fairy Tales in Fiction

American Gods by Neil Gaiman Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together […]

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Children’s Collections of Myths & Legends

A brief selection of myths and legends for children. Tales of Long Ago (1965) Enid Blyton Tales of the Greek Heroes (1958) Roger Lancelyn Green. Puffin Classics Myths of the Norsemen (1970) Roger Lancelyn Green. Puffin Classics Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1981) Sharon Publications Arthurian Legends (1998) Marie Trevelyan Celtic Fairy Tales (1998) Joseph Jacobs

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Greek Myths in Fiction

Reworked, revisited, reimagined Greek myths in contemporary fiction. Beneath each book description, a short description of the original myth on which the book is based. Where different versions of the same myth exist, I’ve selected one, and list the other(s) under ‘See Also’. Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg The novel which became movie Angel Heart […]

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5 Tips for Writing Gripping Suspense

You don’t have to write in the suspense genre to use the techniques to create suspense within your novel. These techniques capture your reader’s attention and holds it to the thrilling conclusion. Suspense comes from the reader fearing what will happen next to a character they care about. The character must risk losing what matters […]

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The World Tree

The World Tree (also known as Cosmic Tree or Axis Mundi) is a recurring mytheme across many different cultures. It is a colossal tree whose branches extend to the heavens, the trunk exists in the realm of all living things, and whose roots delve deep into the underworld. So widespread is the myth, that it […]

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Magic mode: magic(al) realism and the author

If you are confused by the term ‘magic realism’, you’re not alone. The wide variety of novels and short stories all claiming to be magic realism can be bewildering, ranging as they do across romance, family saga, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, surrealist, fabulist, slipstream, absurdist and weird fiction. How can this be? In literature, […]

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Fox as Symbol

Header photo: Joachim Munter This post looks at how the fox is portrayed across cultures in folklore and myth, and how this has influenced language and literature. The fox appears in the folklore of many cultures as a trickster with a double-identity, often with magic powers and the ability to transform. Its nature, cunning yet […]

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Magic(al) Realism: the Magic of Myth

Zeus, father of the gods, transformed his love, Io, into a cow for fear of discovery by wife, Hera. She, knowing her husband well, saw through his ruse and begged Zeus for the cow, exclaiming how beautiful it was. Hera bade Argus of the hundred eyes to watch over the cow. Desperate, Zeus sent Hermes […]

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Myths: Function, Recurrence, Character Roles and Archetypes

The World Tree (axis mundi) is a mytheme or archetype which recurs in many cultures. It is a colossal tree linking heaven with earth and the underworld. In Norse mythology it appears as Yggdrasil, the Mayans called it yax imix che (Blue-Green Tree of Abundance), Buddists have the Bodhi (Bo tree). In other forms it […]

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Myths: In the beginning … was the archetype

Clytie, the Sunflower Maiden: Clytie the water nymph would emerge from her pool every day to comb her golden hair and bathe in the warmth of the sun. One day, she caught sight of Apollo as he drove his chariot across the sky. Dazzled by his strength and beauty, she fell in love. For nine […]

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Magic(al) Realism

What it is, what it’s not, its origins, characteristics and exponents Magic Realism is a mode of literature most often associated with Latin American authors, in particular, Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez, and is taken to mean the incorporation of mythical and/or fantastical elements in an otherwise realistic narrative. But this definition doesn’t tell […]

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