New Books Network

For all of their prominence in the popular imagination today, the historical record of the Viking presence in England is limited, with much of...

For all of their prominence in the popular imagination today, the historical record of the Viking presence in England is limited, with much of what we know about them dependent upon the literary accounts attached to it. In Dragon Lords: The History and Legends of Viking England (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Eleanor Parker deconstructs these accounts to ascertain what they reveal both about the Vikings and their legacy for medieval England. Focusing on the narratives of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons, Siward, Guy of Warwick, and Havelok, she draws out similarities that deepen our understanding of who they were. By analyzing these stories, she shows how the interpretations of the Danes changed over time, as their evolution into a more hostile and alien presence gave them a more adversarial role in shaping England’s national identity than was the case.