Opening the Gates of Valhöll
Performance Studies and Old Nordic Poetry with a Focus on “What’s Going On” in Eiríksmál and Hákonarmál
Thursday, March 1, 2018, at 16.30
This lecture will start by giving a brief introduction to why one should consider taking the performative approach to Eddic and skaldic poetry (in other words, considering these works on the basis of sound and vision, movement, space, time and performative context, their associations with ritual/entertainment, their interaction with the expectations and cultural memories of their audiences, their potential interaction with their surroundings, and not least the transformative effects that they can have on these surroundings). Particular reference will be made here to the work and approaches of Richard Schechner and John Miles Foley. The second part of the lecture will feature a case study of the form and performative aspects of Eiriksmál and Hákonarmál, two dialogic works which lie somewhere between the Eddic and skaldic forms, noting the ways in which the performative approach opens a potentially new understanding of the way these poems might have originally been intended to work.
Terry Gunnell is Professor of Folkloristics at the University of Iceland. His research focuses on questions of performance, ritual, belief, myth, and legend. He is author of The Origins of Drama in Scandinavia (1995), and joint editor of The Nordic Apocalypse (2013); and Málarinn og menningarsköpun (2017).
The talk will be delivered in English. All are welcome to attend.