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DOLONEIA: A Greek nickname for the tenth book of Homer's Iliad, assumed by many scholars to be a late addition inserted long after the Homeric age. Many editions of Homer leave out this book entirely.
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DRAUGR, DRAUGAR (Old Norse, "phantom," related to PIE drowgos, "deceive"; plural form is draugar or draugur): Also called aptrgangr ("again-walkers"), draugar are undead beings from Old Norse, Icelandic, Faroese, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian mythology. Animated blood-drinking corpses, these monsters were either death-blue ("hel-blár") or "corpse-white" ("nár-fölr") in color. Folklore depicted them as superhumanly strong, foul-smelling, and vengeful. They enjoyed crushing or suffocating victims, as depicted in the Hrómundar Saga. They possessed a number of powers, most notably the ability to drive men or animals insane, to control weather, to prophesy, to increase their mass at will, and to turn into smoke or pass through rock. The oldest legends distinguished between sea-draugar (vengeful spirits of the drowned), land-draugar (types that wandered at night and often preyed on shepherds), and a third variation known as haugbui. The latter type lurked in , protecting the treasure-hoard buried therin. Any marginalized, evil, or unhappy person might become a draugr after death (especially those who were greedy or vengeful in life), but draugar were also infectious. Those they kill turn into draugar after death, as is the case in the story of Glam in Grettir's Saga and the story of the shepherd in the Eyrbyggja Saga. Along with vague Anglo-Saxon allusions to the (OE wiht), the Old Norse legends of draugar were Tolkien's primary inspiration for barrow-wights in The Lord of the Rings. Incidentally, in Nynorsk (modern Norwegian) translations of Tolkien's work, the word draugr is applied to the barrow-wights as well as to the Nazgûl ring-wraiths and the dead men of Dunharrow. Cf. , .
Many of those groups (such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Goths) left very little evidence behind in the way of complete mythologies, but in the Icelandic sagas and Old Norse tradition, we have extensive records of a mythology surrounding the Aesir and Vanir deities in the Poetic Edda. In these legends, the Germanic or Teutonic gods embodied in Old Norse were, as Tom Shippey states, "" (see Drout 449). Many 19th century scholars (and later Tolkien himself) explored whether this worldview was unique to the Norse, or whether it permeated the other branches of the Germanic tribes. Linguistic evidence suggested it did. For instance, the names of cognate deities appear in toponyms in Britain and continental Germany. Thus, the one-eyed all-father Odin in Old Norse has analogues in Woden in Anglo-Saxon and Wotan in pagan Germany, etc. On the other hand, the counter-argument was that similarities in names might not correspond with similarities in worldview. For example, just because Old English had the term Middan-Geard (Middle Earth), and Old Norse had Mithgarthr (Middle Earth), it does not necessarily follow that the Anglo-Saxons had an identical cosmology to the Vikings in which nine different worlds centered on the human one (See Shippey in Drout 449). Other evidence circumstantially was available in what the mythographers called "survivor-genres" (fairy tales, riddles, oral ballads, and nursery rhymes), and philologists argued that skilled investigators could recover or reconstruct missing parts of the lost mythoi from these later texts (449-450).
AP English Literature | The Lit Spot
DEDUCTUM CARMEN (Latin, "drawn-out song"): Ovid's term in Eclogue 6.3-5 for the type of poem he will create in his own poetry, in contrast with the older epic. He claims that a "modern" (i.e., imperial) poet of his day should not be writing epics, but instead should follow the example of Callimachus, in which the poem's narrative structure is drawn out in a manner akin to the way a thread is drawn outin spinning, so the story become a fine, tight thread pulled out of the original chaotic tangle of unprocessed wool (Feeney xxiii). This method contrasts with the epic, in which a single narrative focusing on kings and conquerors broadly dominates the entire poem.
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DEMAND D'AMOUR (French, "demand of love"): A medieval motif common in French and continental courtly literature in which a hypothetical situation would appear as a "love-problem," and the listeners would attempt to resolve the issue through debate. Such debates may have been common in real-life medieval party-games or flirtations among the nobility before they became literary motifs. By the late medieval period, many collections of such hypothetical situations and accompanying questions had appeared, such as the Middle English Demaundes of Love. Chaucer's narrators in the Knight's Tale, the Franklin's Tale, and The Parliament of Fowels explicitly ask their audiences to make judgments of this sort at various points in the tale, and the marriage group as a whole in The Canterbury Tales implicitly asks the readers to explore what makes a happy marriage.
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DECADENCE, THE: A literary movement in late Nineteenth-Century England, France, Germany, and Spain associated with dark or "amoral" symbolism, focusing on the theme of artifice as opposed to naturalism. In particular, Théophile Gautier, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, and Audrey Beardsley are representative writers and poets in this movement.
AP Lit. Syllabus | AP English 12
DEUTSCHE MYTHOLOGIE (Ger. "Teutonic Mythology")(1) an important mythographic study by Jakob Grimm first published in 1835. Deutsche Mythologie was a foundational and strikingly comprehensive work studying Germanic mythology via the tools of etymology and folklore. (2) The combined mythology of the North, West, and East Germanic tribes--i.e., Viking sagas and myths in the northern reaches of Iceland and the Scandinavian Peninsula, Germanic deities from the continent mentioned in Roman records, Lombardic historical myths of the Italian Peninsula, the tales of the (now-extinct) Goths from Eastern Europe, and the lost pagan practices of the Anglo-Saxons before they converted to Christianity in Britain--especially in the sense these various myths may connect to each other in older, proto-Germanic form. As part of the philological mission to reconstruct the ancestral proto-Indo-European language using comparative linguistics, many nineteenth-century philogists applied similar comparative tools to explore the original myths of the proto-Germanic tribes that gave rise to the various legends among the three branches (North, West, and East) of Teutonic ethnic groups.