Join us for a book talk with Nancy Marie Brown on Looking for the Hidden Folk, a wonderfully quirky new exploration of our interaction with nature out on October 4 from Pegasus Books! In exploring how Icelanders interact with nature — and their idea that elves live among us — Brown will discuss how altering our perceptions of the environment can be a crucial first step toward saving it.
Icelanders believe in elves. Why does that make you laugh?, asks Nancy Marie Brown. Looking for answers in history, science, religion, and art — from ancient times to today — Brown finds that each discipline defines what is real and unreal, natural and supernatural, demonstrated and theoretical, alive and inert. Each has its own way of perceiving and valuing the world around us. And each discipline defines what an Icelander might call an elf.
Illuminated by her own encounters with Iceland’s Otherworld — in ancient lava fields, on a holy mountain, beside a glacier or an erupting volcano, crossing the cold desert at the island’s heart on horseback — Looking for the Hidden Folk offers an intimate conversation about how we look at and find value in nature. It reveals how the words we use and the stories we tell shape the world we see. It argues that our beliefs about the Earth will preserve — or destroy it.
“Astonishing, lyrical, and thought-provoking” (Pat Shipman, author of Our Oldest Companions)
“Brown’s enthusiasm is infectious” (The Boston Globe)
This program will take place in-person at Scandinavia House; RSVP required.
About the Author
Nancy Marie Brown is the author of several highly praised cultural histories, including The Real Valkyrie, Song of the Vikings, and Ivory Vikings. These titles have been favorably reviewed in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Economist, the Times Literary Supplement, the Wall Street Journal, and many other journals. Brown has spent decades studying Icelandic literature and culture. She lives on a farm in Vermont where she keeps four Icelandic horses and an Icelandic sheepdog.