Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu 2017–2018

Dagskrá í öfugri tímaröð (nýjast efst):

Nadezhda Hristova

Offences against Marriage 
in the 12th–14th Centuries

Evidence from Orthodox Bulgaria and Catholic Europe

Fimmtudaginn 31. maí 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Nadezhda Hristova

In this lecture, Nadezhda Hristova discusses the attitude towards offences against marriage in the legal tradition of the Orthodox and the Catholic Church. Hristova presents results of her research based on a comparative analysis of normative and academic texts in medieval church law composed or used in the Orthodox Bulgarian Kingdom and in Catholic Western Europe in the 12th–14th centuries. Hristova examines sources such as the so-called Slavonic Ecloga (a translation into Old Bulgarian of the Byzantine Ecloga—the most important Byzantine legal work after the Code of Justinian, issued in 726 by Emperor Leo III the Isaurian; the Law of Judging People—the first original Old Bulgarian code of written laws composed at the end of the 9th century on the basis of title XVII of the Byzantine Ecloga; the Alphabetical Syntagma of 1335 composed by the Byzantine monk Matthew Blastares and enforced in Bulgaria since the middle of the 14th century; Concordia discordantium canonum (Decretum Gratiani), the first work presenting the Western canon law in a systematic order, composed in the 12th century by the canon lawyer from Bologna Gratian; the works of some of the commentators of the Decretum Gratiani known as dekretists, like Rufinus († c. 1191), Joannes Faventinus († c. 1190) and Rolandus from the Bologna school, and Stephanus Tornacensis († 1203) from the Paris school; the collection of papal letters—Decretales Gregorii IX or Liber Extra, composed in 1234 by the Catalan canonist Raymond of Penyafort.

In her lecture, Hristova expounds on problems such as the church’s vision of bigamy, to what extent medieval clergy made difference between fornication and adultery, what kind of church punishments were provided for such offences against marriage and whether their severity depended on the sex of the sinner, and what had to be the relations between a husband and a wife in case of committed adultery. The actual enforcement of the norms of canon law concerning offences against marriage will not be discussed in the lecture.

Nadezhda Hristova, PhD, is an Associate Professor in medieval history and a scientific secretary of “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Her research and publications focus on problems like the status of women in medieval Europe, the matrimonial institution and marriage relations among Orthodox and Catholic Christians, medieval common law. Nadezhda Hristova has specialized in women’s studies at the University of Oslo and the University of Cambridge.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Carolyne Larrington

‘We’re fighting the north and it’s not going anywhere’

Old Norse Myth and Culture, and Game of Thrones

Fimmtudaginn 17. maí 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Carolyne Larrington

In this lecture, Carolyne Larrington talks about the connections between medieval Old Norse-Icelandic tradition, and the HBO TV series Game of Thrones. From direwolves to the Three-Eyed Raven, from beyond the Wall to the Iron Isles, she will trace the ways in which George R. R. Martin, author of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, on which the show is based, and David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the showrunners, adapt motifs from Old Norse literature, mythology and legend to shape its vision of the North. Óðinn, Valhöll, vikings, draugar, cosmic wolves and ravens, and the very Fimbulvetr itself, that inspires one of the series’ most resonant phrases: Winter is coming.

George R. R. Martin is steeped in Old Norse mythology and Viking history, and has made creative use of themes and tropes drawn from the medieval North. In particular the show harnesses the myth and attributes of Óðinn, traditions about the undead and the frost-giants, shape-changing magic, an exaggerated view of Viking ethics in its depiction of the Iron-Born people, and the fundamental myth of ragnarök itself. The show’s vision of apocalypse is shaped by the end of the world as imagined in Völuspá, and — since both show and book series have yet to conclude — we may wonder whether the continent of Westeros can hope for the kind of rebirth that follows catastrophe in Eddic poetry. And can saga tradition offer some clues as how the great existential threat of the White Walkers and their army of undead draugar can be countered?

The lecture will both discuss and critique Martin and the show’s views of the medieval North, examining how popular cultural genres can over-simplify, but also can build creatively on the medieval past, opening up interesting questions about ethics, identity, adapting to cultural change and the ways in which power, information and technology intersect in the imagined world of Westeros.

Carolyne Larrington’s most recent book is a popular guide to Old Norse myth and legend, published by Thames and Hudson in 2017, and has translated the Poetic Edda into English. In 2015 she published Winter is Coming: the Medieval World of Game of Thrones; she has lectured across three continents on the books, the show and their parallels in medieval history, literature and imaginations.

Carolyne Larrington is Professor of medieval European literature at the University of Oxford and Official Fellow in medieval English at St John’s College, Oxford. She researches widely in Old Norse-Icelandic literature, Arthurian studies, the history of emotion and, most recently, medievalism. Author of a best-selling book on Game of Thrones, she is currently writing a sequel about the show.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Neil Price

Viking warrior women?

Reassessing Birka chamber grave Bj.581 and its implications

Þriðjudaginn 17. apríl 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Neil Price

The warrior woman or ‘shield maiden’ has long been part of the Viking image, with a pedigree that extends from the Valkyries of Old Norse prose and poetry to Wagner’s operatic fantasies and beyond. In our own times, she has taken on a new lease of life through mass-media entertainment and television drama such as the Vikings series. However, until recently the actual Viking-Age evidence for female fighters, whether real or mythical, has been sparse and ambiguous.

This lecture presents the results of a new archaeological and genomic research project in central Sweden, focussing on a single grave from the island market centre of Birka. The burial, designated Bj.581, was excavated (rather well) in 1878 and even then was seen as unusual and special. Packed with weapons and war gear, it has always been universally interpreted as the grave of a high-status warrior, held up repeatedly as a kind of ‘ultimate Viking’ of the tenth century. In line with that view, the occupant has consistently been assumed to be male.

Our project began with a coincidence, when a general osteological analysis of the Birka human bone material — including the skeleton in Bj.581 — unexpectedly suggested that the body was in fact biologically female. Intrigued by the possible implications, we undertook DNA studies that confirmed this revised sexing of the dead. The publication of these findings, and our suggestion that the occupant of Bj.581 was therefore a female warrior of high status, immediately went viral and received global media attention — much to our surprise. They also attracted controversy and critique, that in turn spread across the internet. In particular, the very integrity of the burial, and our research, was called into question: we must have analysed the wrong skeleton, or else we had somehow overlooked a second body in the grave, and so on. These issues — none of which were ever raised while the deceased was believed to be male — are addressed in the talk, but also set in a wider context. Bj.581 provides a useful case study, not just in the martial cultures of the Viking Age and the interpretation of mortuary behaviour, but in the conflicting attitudes to gender that still frame our pictures of the time.

Neil Price is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Educated at UCL, York and Uppsala, he specialises in the Viking Age and the pre-Christian religions of the North. From 2016-2025, Neil is directing a Swedish Research Council project to explore the origins of The Viking Phenomenon.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Orri Vésteinsson

Hvernig verða ríki til?

Ísland og Noregur á 10.–13. öld

Fimmtudaginn 22. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Orri Vésteinsson

Íslendingar gengu Noregskonungi á hönd um 1260 og urðu með því þáttaskil í stjórnmálasögu landsins. Skoðanir á aðdraganda Gamla sáttmála hafa löngum verið skiptar en yfirleitt hefur þó verið gengið út frá því að líta eigi á Ísland þjóðveldisaldar sem sjálfstæða pólitíska einingu. Í fyrirlestrinum verður fjallað um þessa hugmynd út frá almennum kenningum um uppruna ríkisvalds. Þökk sé óbilandi áhuga íslenskra sagnaritara á norskum stjórnmálum er þróun ríkisvalds í Noregi frá 10. öld til þeirrar 13. betur þekkt en flestar aðrar ríkjamyndanir á sama tímabili. Þessi áhugi spratt raunar ekki af engu heldur er hann ein af mörgum birtingarmyndum þess að íslensk stjórnmál voru samofin norskum. Íslensk þjóðfélagsskipan hefði ekki haft það form og hefði ekki getað þróast eins og hún þróaðist nema af því að hún var einmitt ekki sjálfstæð og sérstök heldur hluti af stærri heild.

Ástæðan fyrir því að Ísland varð ekki formlegur hluti af Noregsríki fyrr en um 1260 var að norsku konungarnir höfðu fram undir það einfaldlega ekki möguleika á að skipa málum á Íslandi en um leið og það örlaði á getu til þess — um 1220 — riðlaðist hið innlenda valdajafnvægi á skömmum tíma vegna viðleitni íslenskra valdsmanna til að skapa sér stöðu í nýjum veruleika. Þeir börðust ekki gegn áhrifum Noregskonungs heldur fyrir því að njóta ávaxtanna af vaxandi styrk hans. Samband þeirra við konung stóð á gömlum merg og var forsenda fyrir því valdaskiptingarkerfi sem íslenskir höfðingjar höfðu komið sér upp.

Umræða um þessi efni einkennist af því að lagður er mismunandi skilningur í hugtök eins og ríki og konungsvald. Hin íslenska hefð er að leggja mikið upp úr lögfræðilegum skilgreiningum á stjórnskipan, en frá þeim sjónarhóli er hægt að tala um ríki (sbr. Free state) og þjóðveldi eða goðaveldi þegar á 10. öld. Almennar kenningar um ríkisvald, hvort sem er í mannfræði, sagnfræði eða þjóðfélagsfræði gera hins vegar yfirleitt kröfur til ákveðinnar virkni til að tala megi um ríki, atriði á borð við virkt framkvæmdavald, getu til að skattleggja og heimta skatt, og einkarétt á beitingu ofbeldis. Samkvæmt síðastnefndu kröfunni er tæplega hægt að tala um ríkisvald í Evrópu fyrr en á 16. öld, en hinar tvær sýna berlega að það er tómt mál að tala um ríkisvald í Noregi, hvað þá Íslandi, fyrir seinni hluta 13. aldar. Löngu áður höfðu hins vegar hugmyndir og valdatengsl mótast sem skilgreindu hvaða fólk gat átt saman um slík mál og í því höfðu Íslendingar spyrt sig rækilega saman við Norðmenn allt frá 10. öld ef ekki fyrr.

Orri Vésteinsson er fæddur 1967 og lærði sagnfræði við Háskóla Íslands og sagnfræði og fornleifafræði við University College London þaðan sem hann lauk doktorsprófi 1996. Hann hefur kennt fornleifafræði við Háskóla Íslands frá 2002. Rannsóknir hans snúa m.a. að íslenskri samfélagsgerð á miðöldum, landnámi, byggðaskipan og mótun samfélagsstofnana.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

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Paul Acker

Waterways in Icelandic Ballads

Þriðjudaginn 20. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Paul Acker

In a recent collection edited by Anne Scott and Cynthia Kosso, the contributors comment on the multiform uses of water in antique and medieval literature. It is not difficult to imagine many of these: waterways as transportation, as supplies of drinking water, as media for bathing. To cite a comparable instance, in the Swedish ballad „Tore’s Daughters,“ some young women are killed and then springs bubble up from beneath their severed heads. Tore is thus moved to consecrate a church on the spot; some may recognize this narrative as basis for Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 film Virgin Spring. The connection between holiness and a clean source of water, whether a spring or a well, is common enough in medieval saintly tales. The Icelandic version of this ballad, however, there is no spring; rather a light is seen over the daughters’ shallow grave. Water seems to be reserved for other uses in Icelandic ballads, mainly as a deadly place where drownings, accidental and homicidal, occur in proportion to the ballads’ other main theme, human relationships of love, whether marital and premarital, illicit or coerced. In this talk I will examine such instances in „The Ballad of Gauti and Magnhild“ (an analogue for the Old English poem Deor), in which a woman drowns when a bridge collapses. despite its being made (so the ballad says) of iron; „The Ballad of the Harp“ (with a close analogues in the Scottish ballad „Twa Sisters“), in which an envious sister pushes her fair sibling into the sea; „Elen’s Song,“ where a creature of the deep tries to abduct the resourceful heroine; Olaf Lilyrose, where the ocean is never quite reached as a destination and „Dialogue between a Mother and Son,“ where the drowning motif sneaks in proverbially at the end. Along the way I will comment on bridges in Old Norse literature and on the relevance of ecocritism for this topic.

Paul Acker is a Professor of English at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he teaches Old English and Old Icelandic. He earned his Ph.D. from Brown University and published a version of his dissertation as Revising Oral Theory in 1998. He researched in Iceland on a Fulbright Grant in 1980 and again in 1986, when he helped edit the Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia (1993) with Phillip Pulsiano and Kirsten Wolf. He contributed two saga translations to The Complete Sagas of Icelanders (1997) and co-edited with Carolyne Larrington two collections of essays on The Poetic Edda (2002 and 2013). He is completing a book on dragons, including Icelandic dragons, for Harvard University Press, and he is currently researching a book on Icelandic ballads, with translations into English.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Wendy Marie Hoofnagle

The Secrets of Wikked Wyves

Sex and Authority in the Late Middle Ages

Fimmtudaginn 15. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Wendy Marie Hoofnagle

In this paper, I compare Geoffrey Chaucer’s treatment of the Wife of Bath to late medieval conduct literature and the popular „Secrets of Women“ medical treatise, revealing a satirical textual milieu in which aggressive female characters, seeking sovereignty over men, perform their unique style of womanly wisdom before a male audience. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer created an ostensibly feminine character in the Wife of Bath whose prologue is at least as much about the knowledge of sex—and controlling men through sex—as it is about marriage, as is well known. But in this paper, I show that Chaucer is drawing on the manipulation of the „secrets of women“ in other contemporary literature to comment upon the pervasive anxiety about the gendered question of authority in medieval society. The „Secrets of Women“ treatise, for example, is a misogynistic masculine textual tradition that appropriated the Trotula, a collection of gynecological lore attributed to a female twelfth-century healer, which had a profound impact on the development of women’s medicine in the high Middle Ages. The „Secrets of Women,“ however, repressed knowledge of women’s medicine from the Trotula to focus solely on issues of sex and reproduction; therefore, the female sexuality once studied for the alleviation of women’s ailments was arrogated to a voyeuristic masculine gaze, to satisfy men’s curiosity and control over women. To control women’s secrets in this literary milieu, especially the secrets of their sexuality, created a new economy of exchange between men that could encompass the mystery of women’s natures as well as their physical bodies. Furthermore, these „Secrets of Women“ also found expression in fourteenth-century satires of womanly wisdom, such as conduct poems and collections of prosaic knowledge. In these works, the voice is ostensibly feminine but the framing masculine narrative suggests the superiority of men because of their ability to control the feminine through their mastery of the written word, like Chaucer’s invention of the Wife of Bath. My research opens a new area of inquiry into the medieval perceptions and representations of knowledge and authority, particularly within the realm of medieval female experience, which broadens our understanding of developing gender dynamics and their legacy to subsequent generations of women.

Wendy Marie Hoofnagle is an Associate Professor and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Northern Iowa. She earned a PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut in 2008. Her recent work examines the development of „womanly wisdom“ in medieval England.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Frida Espolin Norstein

Viking women and oval brooches

Expressing female identities in life and death

Þriðjudaginn 13. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Frida Espolin Norstein

Oval brooches are found all over the Viking world, to such an extent that they are seen as the most common form of female jewellery in the Viking Age. They are often seen as the clearest indication of female Viking burial. This is also the case in the British Isles and Iceland, where their presence suggest the presence of Viking women, many presumably migrants from Scandinavia. A thorough study of the oval brooches found in the western Viking settlements indicate that they were not made there, nor do they seem to be imported for sale. The differences we see in types, variations, and quality would suggest that they arrived in the west with women from Scandinavia. This is further supported by the fact that many of them have signs of wear and repair. This demonstrates that they had been in use for a relatively long time before ending up in the graves.

Using examples from Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland this lecture will focus on how these brooches were used, and what this could tell us about women in these areas. Through an examination of use-wear, there will be a discussion of how they were used in life, but also of the role they might have played in funerary rites. I will argue that these brooches, in addition to signifying the presence of Scandinavian women, would have been important for creating and communicating Scandinavian female identities in the overseas settlements.

Frida Espolin Norstein is a PhD candidate in archaeology at Gothenburg University. She has previously studied at the University of York and the University of Oslo. Her work is mainly concerned with Viking burial in the British Isles and Iceland, in particular female burial.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Þórdís Edda Jóhannesdóttir

Sagnaskemmtun á sextándu öld

Handritið AM 510 4to í bókmenntasögulegu samhengi

Fimmtudaginn 8. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Þórdís Edda Jóhannesdóttir

AM 510 4to er sagnahandrit frá miðri 16. öld og eitt fárra íslenskra skinnhandrita sem vitað er hverjir skrifuðu. Uppruni þess er rakinn til prestsins Ara Jónssonar í Súgandafirði og sona hans, Tómasar og Jóns. Fleiri handrit hafa varðveist sem má rekja til þeirra, meðal annars rímnahandritið AM 604 4to. AM 510 geymir átta sögur en þær eru: Víglundar saga, Bósa saga, Jarlmanns saga og Hermanns, Þorsteins þáttur bæjarmagns, Jómsvíkinga saga, Finnboga saga ramma, Drauma-Jóns saga og Friðþjófs saga frækna. Samsetning handritsins er ekki óvenjuleg fyrir sagnahandrit frá síðmiðöldum en rannsóknir á uppskriftum og miðlun sagna frá þessum tíma eru enn nokkuð skammt á veg komnar. Þegar sögur hafa varðveist í eldri handritum en frá síðmiðöldum beinist athyglin jafnan þangað og yngri uppskriftir njóta síður hylli. Af þessum sökum er þekking á bókmenntaumhverfi þrettándu og fjórtándu aldar meiri en fimmtándu og sextándu aldar. Ef handrit eins og AM 510 4to er kannað í heild í því tilliti að varpa ljósi á umhverfi skrifara og njótendur sagnanna getur það aukið skilning á bókmenntamenningu sextándu aldar.

Sögunum í AM 510 4to mætti öllum lýsa sem skemmtisögum fremur en sögum með sagnfræðilegt heimildargildi. Sumar þeirra eiga það einnig sameiginlegt að storka hefðbundinni flokkun íslenskra miðaldabókmennta, það er að segja, þær falla illa að flokkum eins og Íslendingasögum, fornaldarsögum, riddarasögum o.s.frv. Í erindinu verður sjónum beint að því hvernig handrit sem varðveitir einmitt þessar sögur getur gefið innsýn í heim sagnaskemmtunar á sextándu öld og mögulega aukið þekkingu okkar á bókmenntasögu síðmiðalda og áhuga sextándu aldar manna á fornsögum. Handritið geymir auk þess athyglisverðar spássíugreinar sem geta brugðið enn frekari birtu á hugðarefni og áhugamál skrifaranna.

Þórdís Edda Jóhannesdóttir er nýdoktor á handritasviði Stofnunar Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum og stundakennari við Háskóla Íslands. Hún lauk doktorsprófi í íslenskum bókmenntum við Háskóla Íslands 2016. Rannsóknir hennar beinast einkum að íslenskum miðaldabókmenntum, viðtökum þeirra og bókmenntasögulegu samhengi.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

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Tsukusu Jinn Itó

Japanese Reception of Old Norse Mythology

The appreciation of Norse myths in the Far East

Þriðjudaginn 6. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Tsukusu Jinn Itó

This talk will present the reception studies that our research group is now conducting on Old Norse Myth and Manga. The project is funded by a Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. When Japan opened its doors to the world after more than two centuries of national seclusion, Christian Western civilization was introduced and promoted in Japanese cities. Old Germanic mythology, introduced by the nineteenth-century romanticism, was also advanced through the reading and translating of German literature, as well as through the Wagnerian boom in the Meiji period at the turn of the century (circa 1900).

Although a Japanese translation of the Poetic Edda was not published until 1933, students of German philology and literature had enjoyed lectures on medieval as well as modern Scandinavian literature already before 1930. One of the products of this was a Japanese retelling of Old Norse myths by a scholar of English literature. Towards the end of the Second World War, a prominent professor of German philology was killed in the Blitz on Tokyo in 1940. This might have brought this line of study to an end in Japan but sprouts from this tradition survived the war to bloom in various places.

The poet Shizuka Yamamuro (1906–2000), who presided over a literary circle of Modern literature since 1946, was an independent scholar who introduced various Scandinavian literary works, including not only Eddas and Sagas, but also the works of Jens Peter Jacobsen, H.C. Andersen, Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Sigrid Undset, Jón Sveinsson (Nonni), Halldór Kiljan Laxness, Tove Jansson, Astrid Lindgren, Selma Lagerlöf, and others. His works were followed by two scholars of German, Kenji Matsutani and Yukio Taniguchi.

In 1990, Yukio Taniguchi was awarded the Icelandic Order of the Falcon (Hin íslenska fálkaorða) for his academic contribution. Kenji Matsutani inspired the manga artist Ishinomori Shōtarō to create Cyborg Zero-Zero-Nine (1976) about which Jón Karl Helgason wrote that the echo of Ragnarök in the story reveals ‘the critical view of weapons and warfare’ that the Japanese people have ideologically held since the end of the War. Today, manga artists make use of the motifs of Old Norse myth more liberally. Some of them might well reflect the young boys’ bellicose disposition as a commercial strategy.

Tsukusu Jinn Itó is a professor of Medieval English and Scandinavian Philology at Shinshū University. He studied English literature and philology in Tokyo and Icelandic and medieval Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland in 1991-1992.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Terry Gunnell

Opening the Gates of Valhöll

Performance Studies and Old Nordic Poetry with a Focus on “What’s Going On” in Eiríksmál and Hákonarmál

Fimmtudaginn 1. mars 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Terry Gunnell

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).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Sif Ríkharðsdóttir

Emotion and Cultural Identities in the North

Old Norse Literature in a European Context

Fimmtudaginn 15. febrúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Sif Ríkharðsdóttir

The Norse literary tradition is well known for its objective narrative style and an apparent lack of interest in the emotions of its characters. The seemingly laconic mode of portraying emotions in the Icelandic sagas — when compared with continental romance, for instance — does, however, not negate the presence of underlying emotion. Many of the sagas are in fact no less emotionally laden than the romances. This difference suggests that the emotive force of a text does not necessarily rely on emotion words or gestures (noticeably absent in sagas, but abundant in romances), but rather on the emotional signifiers with which the reader engages and to which he responds.

This lecture will focus on the way in which cross-cultural literary exchange partakes in the formation of emotive literary identities and mentalities in the North in the Middle Ages. In particular, it will explore how this complex interplay of transnational textual movement and regional identity formation reveals the role of cultural exchange and cultural resistance in the formation of literary identities and mentalities and the function emotive scripts have in actualising such cultural identities. The suggested term ‘emotive script’ is intended to encompass the literary staging of behavioural codes. The talk will explore how the various texts stage such codes.

The lecture will touch upon examples from the saga literature, including the better known sagas Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar and Brennu-Njáls saga, the translated romances as well as some Eddic poems to consider how emotions are conveyed in Old Norse literature.

Sif Ríkharðsdóttir is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland. Her most recent monograph, Emotion in Old Norse Literature: Translations, Voices, Contexts was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2017. She has published widely on literary emotion, cultural transmission, Arthurian literature and medieval romance.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

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Árni Heimir Ingólfsson

Kirkjusöngur á mótum tveggja tíma

Hvað var sungið í íslenskum kirkjum um miðja 16. öld?

Fimmtudaginn 8. febrúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Árni Heimir Ingólfsson

Fátt er vitað um kirkjusöng á Íslandi frá því að lútherskur siður var lögfestur og þar til sálmabók (1589) og grallari (1594) Guðbrands Þorlákssonar komu út á prenti. Heimildir gefa í skyn að nokkur tvídrægni hafi verið í kirkjusöngnum um skeið, enda áttu biskupar örðugt með að koma sér saman um tónlist og helgisiði. Ein merk heimild um kirkjusöng á þessu millibilsskeiði er handrit Gísla Jónssonar Skálholtsbiskups (NKS 138 4to), sem Arngrímur Jónsson og fleiri hafa rannsakað. Það virðist geyma eins konar forskrift að helgihaldi með nótum og er varðveitt í Konungsbókhlöðu í Kaupmannahöfn. Handritið komst aldrei á prent og er líklega andstöðu Guðbrands þar um að kenna, enda beið Guðbrandur með að gefa út nokkur fyrirmæli um kirkjusöng þar til eftir andlát Gísla árið 1587.

Þó hafa fleiri heimildir varðveist sem bregða ljósi á kirkjusöng á Íslandi á fyrstu áratugum eftir siðaskipti. Brot úr tveimur íslenskum söngbókum frá því um eða upp úr 1550 hafa varðveist á Konunglega bókasafninu í Stokkhólmi og hafa þau að geyma gregorska söngva við íslenska texta. Handritin eru merk heimild um tilraun til að laga hinn forna söng að nýjum sið. Þótt aðeins hafi varðveist tvö blöð úr hvorri bók sést hér glitta í stórhuga tilraun, útfærða af kunnáttusemi, sem miðaði að því að snúa efni hins kaþólska helgihalds á íslenskt mál fremur en að innleiða nýja kirkjusöngva Lúthers. Blöðin hafa enga athygli hlotið fram til þessa og virðist sem fræðimönnum á sviði tónlistar- og kirkjusögu hafi ekki verið kunnugt um tilvist þeirra. Þessi brot bregða ljósi á það sem nefnt hefur verið „handbókarlausa tímabilið“ í árdaga lútherskunnar á Íslandi, þ.e. á árunum frá 1541–1555. Þau sýna að einhver fyrirmæli um gregorskan messu- og tíðasöng, við söngtexta á íslensku auk bænalestra, voru skrifuð upp í handritum og þeim væntanlega fylgt við messuhald í kirkjum þótt ekki kæmust þau á prent. Í fyrirlestrinum verður gerð grein fyrir þessum brotum hvoru fyrir sig, efni þeirra og hugsanlegum uppruna.

Árni Heimir Ingólfsson nam tónlistarfræði við Harvard-háskóla og lauk þaðan doktorsprófi 2003. Hann hefur einkum fengist við rannsóknir á íslenskri tónlist, bæði í handritum fyrri alda og tónlist 20. aldar, einkum tónlist Jóns Leifs. Árni Heimir er listrænn ráðgjafi Sinfóníuhljómsveitar Íslands.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Jørgen Veisland

The Power of the Women in Njáls saga

Hallgerd, Bergthora and Queen Gunnhild

Mánudaginn 5. febrúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Jørgen Veisland

The power of women in Njála might be said to emanate from their own being, if we believe that the saga provides a consistent picture of womanhood as opposed to the masculine. But the different powers of the two sexes are relativized as they are pitted against one another, causing the gender issue to be blurred and curiously modern, even postmodern. Far from using the word ‘power’ in Michel Foucault’s sense, i.e. as dominance, I am using it in the positive sense of a directed purpose to install the individual in a meaningful search for freedom and independence, a search she constructs in response to and in opposition to and in defiance of the men. Hence gender becomes blurred and the borderline between women and men is crossed, and the crossing is preempted and previsioned in the character of Njal who possesses feminine and masculine features that together make up his ‘identity’, or lack of determinate identity, an absence of definable substance or essence that makes him, interestingly, akin to modern or modernist characters. The shifting gender identities make up a pivotal aspect of the singular dynamic of the saga, ironically causing the plot to undermine itself, as the women actively counteract Fate and Determination by engaging in a series of free plots of their own. Hallgerd’s ‘inciting’ the killing of Thord, Skarphedin’s foster-father, is much more than inciting, and transcends her possible role as a ‘woman inciter’ since it leads more or less directly to the culmination of a plot that is not the saga’s but her own, namely her refusal to give Gunnar two locks of her hair so that he can make a string for his bow. Hair becomes a potent symbol of the shifts of power concomitant with the gender shift, for hair, traditionally a feminine attribute, expands its significance through being either given or withheld, and at the same time it becomes detached from linguistic determinacy or determination, as we see it precisely in Njal whose gender is composite or perhaps non-existent, as he transcends even the postmodern ‘transgender’. Sources such as Beauvoir’s The Ethics of Ambiguity and Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror may be helpful in illuminating these processes in the saga.

Jørgen Veisland is associate professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Gdansk in Poland. He is the author of Drama and repetition. Time in selected plays by Henrik Ibsen, Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett (2009) and Depression and Utopia. A study of selected works by John Steinbeck (2010).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Helgi Þorláksson

Frúin í Hamborg

Um upptök þýskrar verslunar á Íslandi á 15. öld og blómaskeið hennar á 16. öld

Fimmtudaginn 1. febrúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Helgi Þorláksson

Haustið 2017 kom út ritverkið Líftaug landsins, um sögu íslenskrar utanlandsverslunar, í tveimur bindum, og tekur til tímans 900-2010. Þar ritar Helgi Þorláksson um utanlandsverslun Íslands frá um 900 til um 1600. Í fyrirlestri sínum hjá Miðaldastofu fjallar hann um það hvernig þýsk verslun á síðmiðöldum tengdist Íslandi og Íslendingum. Ensk verslun á Ensku öldinni, 15. öld, er nokkuð þekkt en þekking á þýskri Íslandsverslun á umræddum tíma hefur verið takmörkuð. Í ritverkinu er reynt að bæta nokkuð úr því. Íslensk skreið barst fyrst að marki til meginlands Evrópu um og upp úr 1500 og í forystu um flutningana voru kaupmenn frá Hamborg. Þegar mest var komu þeir á um 20 skipum árlega til landsins og þýskir kaupmenn í heild á allt að 30 skipum, sumum stórum, með fjölmenni í áhöfn, allt að 60 manns. Enskir kaupmenn létu í minni pokann fyrir hinum þýsku eftir grimmileg átök. Víða um Ísland fór fólk í fyrsta sinn að venjast árvissum aðflutningum margbreytilegrar vöru og þá dró úr svonefndri sjálfsþurft. Sagt verður frá samskiptum þýskra kaupmanna og landsmanna og fjallað nokkuð um margvísleg áhrif hinnar þýsku verslunar. Athygli verður beint að veru þýskra kaupmanna í Hafnarfirði, höfuðstað Hamborgara á Íslandi, og umsvifum á Suðurnesjum og eins að athöfnum hinna þýsku á Snæfellsnesi, einkum í Kumbaravogi (hjá Bjarnarhöfn) og Nesvogi (núna í Stykkishólmi). Hamborg skipti Íslendinga höfuðmáli og varð dyr þeirra til umheimsins. Þaðan bárust margvíslega áhrif, svo sem lútherskar trúarhugmyndir. Danakonungur hafði áhyggjur af veldi þýskra kaupmanna á Íslandi og duldist ekki ágóði þeirra af versluninni. Hann hugsaði sér að auka tekjur sínar af þessari verslun, koma böndum á þýsku kaupmenina og jafnframt að tryggja dönskum kaupmönnum nokkurn hluta af ágóðanum. Þetta leiddi til átaka og af þeim er mikil saga. Eftir að dönsk stjórnvöld komu á verslunareinokun á Íslandi árið 1602 voru eftirmæli þýskrar verslunar m.a. svona: „Þá Hamborgarar héldu landið/hörð var ekki tíðin grandið“. Íslendingar söknuðu þýskra kaupmanna og meira vöruúrvals og hagstæðari kjara en danskir kaupmenn buðu.

Helgi Þorláksson er dr. phil frá Háskóla Íslands og fv. prófessor í sagnfræði við skólann. Hann hefur fengist við sögu landsins fram til 1700, einkum þó sögu tímans 1100 til 1400.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Jan Alexander van Nahl

„… ok vissu þeir eigi, hvert at þeir fóru“

Viking Ships and Navigation

Fimmtudaginn 25. janúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Jan Alexander van Nahl

Composed around 1250, the Old Norse King’s Mirror (Konungs skuggsjá) mentions three reasons for people to go abroad against all odds: glory, curiosity, and wealth. It is not far-fetched to assume that the same reasons were effective some four or five centuries earlier, when the Vikings started their trading and raiding. Their venturous undertakings brought wealth to Scandinavia, stimulated the development and improvement of ships, and accumulated knowledge about the vast extent of the world. The synergy of these factors, among others, eventually allowed for the settlement of as remote a place as Iceland more than 1,100 years ago.

The first part of my lecture intends to give an overview over a selection of ships that a time traveller might observe sailing the Atlantic Ocean at the time of the Icelandic settlement. Not for nothing is the ship among the most popular symbols for the Viking Age, but most settlers probably arrived in a kind of open merchant vessel rather than richly-ornamented long ships.
Knowing how to build a reliable ship is one thing, knowing how to navigate it another thing. Many theories have been put forth as to how the Vikings possibly knew where they went, prominently including the usage of the Polar Star and dubious types of compass-like instruments. But how did these things possibly work? Did they work at all? And by what other means could an experienced Viking-age sailor make sure that he was not totally off course? The second part of my lecture will focus on these question.

Rather than being an exhaustive report, my talk seeks to arouse interest among landlubbers, and asks both for approval and contradiction from experts.

Jan Alexander van Nahl holds a Dr. phil. in Scandinavian Studies and Archaeology from the University of Munich. Among his publications are two books on Snorri Sturluson, a book on Digital Humanities, and most recently a book on Icelandic language and culture. He is currently finishing a book on the Old Icelandic Kings’ sagas, based on his postdoctoral research at the Árni Magnússon Institute since 2014.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.
—o—

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir

Rafurlogar og vafurlogar

Um norðurljós í íslenskum heimildum

Fimmtudaginn 18. janúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir

Fyrir Íslendingum eru norðurljósin hluti af hinum hversdagslega reynsluheimi en fyrir erlendum ferðamönnum sem falla í stafi og jafnvel bresta í grát við það eitt að sjá norðurljós í fyrsta skipti — þegar sá áralangi draumur rætist — eru þau ný og ævintýraleg upplifun; þau eru töfrum gædd. En þótt e.t.v. megi segja að erlendir ferðamenn hafi beint athygli Íslendinga að norðurljósunum hin síðari ár, er ekki þar með sagt að þau hafi ekki verið okkur hugleikin hingað til. Með þessum aukna áhuga ferðamanna vakna þó eðlilega spurningar. Hversu algeng voru norðurljósin hér áður fyrr? Tóku Íslendingar eitthvað frekar eftir norðurljósunum við aðrar aðstæður en nú, þegar áreitið var minna og myrkrið dýpra? Skildu þeir eftir sig sögur um norðurljós og bera slíkar sögur þá e.t.v. vott um hjátrú sem tengjast þeim?

Íslenskar heimildir um norðurljós eru af ólíku tagi, hvort sem um er að ræða náttúrulýsingar, þjóðtrúarsagnir eða rómantískar náttúrumyndir í skáldskap. Í fyrirlestrinum verður gerð grein fyrir eðli þessara heimilda allt frá síðari hluta 16. aldar, þegar Oddur Einarsson Skálholtsbiskup lýsti norðurljósunum með eftirminnilegum hætti í riti sínu Qualiscunque descriptio Islandiae. Meðal annars verður dvalið við þjóðtrúarsagnir, þar sem norðurljósin voru talin fyrirboðar veðrabrigða, ógæfu og jafnvel dauða. Eftir það verður athyglinni beint að miðaldaheimildum, þar sem leitast verður við að draga fram og varpa ljósi á valda texta. Hingað til hafa menn einkum stuðst við hina norsku Konungsskuggsjá, sem var skrifuð á bilinu 1250–60 og segir frá norðurljósum yfir Grænlandi. Frásögnin er því hvorki íslensk né beinlínis heimild um norðurljós yfir Íslandi. En þótt aðrar miðaldaheimildir séu um margt óljósari en frásögn Konungsskuggsjár, má túlka goðsögur og sögur með goðfræðilegu ívafi sem svo að þar sé bústöðum goða, vætta og valkyrja líkt við norðurljós.

Í fyrirlestrinum verður því haldið fram að norðurljósasögur og trúarhugmyndir þeim tengdar hljóti að teljast hefðbundnar á Íslandi, þótt heimildir séu eðlilega fleiri eftir því sem nær dregur nútímanum. Ýmiss konar hjátrú tengist norðurljósunum sérstaklega, og vera má að þau hafi verið innblástur goðsagna og tengd guðunum jafnt sem yfirnáttúrlegum öflum. Um elstu heimildirnar verður ekki fullyrt, en víst er að erlendir ferðamenn líkja þeim enn þann dag í dag við töfra og töfraheima, og að með þeim hætti tengjast gamlar hugmyndir og nýjar.

Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir er prófessor í íslenskum bókmenntum fyrri alda við Háskóla Íslands. Í rannsóknum sínum hefur hún einkum fengist við miðaldabókmenntir með áherslu á fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda og tengingu þeirra við samevrópska sagnamenningu, munnlega hefð, rímur og fornminjar.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Jón Karl Helgason, Sigurður Ingibergur Björnsson og Steingrímur Kárason

Kálfskinn og kósínus-delta

Spurt og svarað um stílmælingar á íslenskum miðaldafrásögnum

Fimmtudaginn 11. janúar 2018 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Jón Karl Helgason

Sigurður Ingibergur Björnsson

Steingrímur Kárason

Á liðnum áratugum hafa bókmenntafræðingar og stærðfræðingar nýtt sér tölvutækni og stærðfræðilegar aðferðir til að bera kennsl á persónuleg stíleinkenni ólíkra höfunda. Meðal þeirra aðferða sem hafa skilað marktækum niðurstöðum er stílmæling þar sem beitt er svonefndum deltamælingum og er kósínus-delta aðferðin afkastamikil útfærsla. Deltamælingar byggja á þeirri forsendu að hlutfallsleg tíðni algengustu orða í tilteknum texta myndi óumdeilanlegt „fingrafar“ viðkomandi höfundar. Hugmyndin er, með öðrum orðum, sú að hvert og eitt okkar hafi ekki aðeins persónulegan orðaforða heldur sé virkni þessa orðaforða líka persónubundin. Fyrirlesarar beittu þessari aðferð við rannsóknir sem kynntar voru í greininni „Fingraför fornsagnahöfunda“ í hausthefti Skírnis 2017. Í fyrirlestrinum munu þeir ræða vítt og breitt um hverjir séu helstu kostir og ókostir þessarar aðferðar þegar miðaldahandrit eru annars vegar.

Jón Karl Helgason er doktor í samanburðarbókmenntum frá University of Massachusetts og prófessor í íslensku sem öðru máli við Háskóla Íslands. Hann hefur m.a. fengist við rannsóknir á viðtökum íslenskra fornbókmennta. Sigurður Ingibergur Björnsson er MBA frá Heriot-Watt University og starfar við hugbúnaðarþróun tengda málvísindum. Steingrímur Kárason er doktor í vélaverkfræði frá Massachusetts Institute of Technology og er sjálfstætt starfandi ráðgjafi.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir

Leitin að klaustrunum

Klausturhald á Íslandi í fimm aldir

Miðvikudaginn 6. desember 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir

Árið 2013 var ráðist í umfangsmikla leit að efnismenningu íslensku klaustranna. Meira fannst en nokkurn hafði órað fyrir en leitinni lauk síðla árs 2016. Í fyrirlestrinum verður sagt frá henni og niðurstöðum nýútkominnar bókar um hana. Við leitina kom fram að klaustrin voru öflugustu stofnanir kaþólsku kirkjunnar á Íslandi á miðöldum, næst á eftir biskupsstólunum. Þau urðu alls 14 hérlendis, hið fyrsta stofnað árið 1030 og hið síðasta 1493. Klausturhaldið nær þannig yfir ólík tímaskeið Íslandssögunnar, allt frá bjartsýnisárum til falls kaþólsku kirkjunnar með innleiðingu lúterskunnar við siðaskiptin 1550. Klaustrin hófust í fyrstu til vegs og virðingar en hnignaði samfara langvarandi deilum íslenskra ættarvelda við páfavaldið í Róm, áður en ný gullöld þeirra rann upp um og eftir aldamótin 1300 og stóð í 250 ár. Eftir siðaskiptin um miðja 16. öld urðu eigur klaustranna ein helsta stoðin í veldi Danakonungs en kaþólsk trú var bönnuð til ársins 1874. Klausturhús voru rifin, rústir sukku í jörð og gripir glötuðust. Nýr veruleiki blasti einnig við almenningi þegar klausturspítölum og skólum var lokað og eignarhald klausturjarðanna, sem voru hátt á sjötta hundrað við siðaskiptin, færðist til konungs og umboðsmanna hans sem oft bjuggu í gömlu klausturhúsunum. Valdið færðist um leið til þeirra, einnig vald til þess að refsa fólki með limlestingum eða aftöku en áður gat það bætt fyrir syndir sínar með góðum verkum eða gjöfum í þágu kirkju og samfélags. Það var af sem áður var en svo virðist sem að almúgafólk hafi farið einna verst út úr þeim byltingarkenndu breytingum sem urðu við siðaskiptin er klausturhald lagðist af.

Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir er fædd á Patreksfirði 1965. Hún nam fornleifafræði við Gautaborgarháskóla og lauk þaðan doktorsprófi 2004. Steinunn hefur einkum fengist við rannsóknir á Austurlandi en lengst af á Skriðuklaustri í Fljótsdal. Steinunn er prófessor í fornleifafræði við Háskóla Íslands og Þjóðminjasafn Íslands.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Matthew Driscoll

Writing in the twilight

The manuscripts of Magnús í Tjaldanesi

Fimmtudaginn 30. nóvember 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Matthew Driscoll

Magnús Jónsson í Tjaldanesi (1835–1922), an ordinary farmer with no formal education, was one of the most prolific scribes of late pre-modern Iceland, producing in the course of his lifetime a vast number of manuscript copies of texts, the majority of them romances of one kind or another—fornaldarsögur, riddarasögur, translations of chapbooks etc.—which he collected into a huge anthology, 20 volumes in all, to which he gave the title Fornmannasögur Norðurlanda (‘Sagas of the ancient men of the north’). There are multiple copies of most of the volumes, and it appears that he copied the entire collection at least four times. Of the 46 manuscripts in Magnús’s hand known to me, 36 are dated, the earliest to 1874, the latest to 1916; the ten remaining are undated but appear mostly to be earlier than the dated volumes. Magnús’s manuscripts contain, in total, texts of nearly 200 individual sagas – essentially everything that was in circulation in late 19th-century Iceland.

All Magnús’s manuscripts are identical in size and format: short, squat quartos each of exactly 800 pages, written in a highly idiosyncratic script. In terms of their design, the manuscripts clearly show influence from printed books, incorporating features such as title-pages, tables of contents and running titles. In about half of Magnús’s manuscripts there are prefaces, another print-feature. In these he typically discusses his exemplar, how he acquired it, by whom it had been written, when and where, and the nature of the text in relation to other copies he has seen. On the basis of all this he speculates on the saga’s age, assuming, not unreasonably, that the more widely disseminated a saga is, the older it is likely to be. Taken together, these prefaces provide a wealth of information on scribal culture in late 19th-century Iceland, a culture which, as Magnús well knew, was fast disappearing.

In my presentation I will examine the nature of the material in Magnús’s collection and his treatment of it, and will try to assess what may have been his intentions with this monumental undertaking, and how it has fared in comparison with the official Icelandic canon which was being forged at roughly the same time.

Matthew Driscoll (Cand.mag., DPhil (Oxon.)) is Professor of Old Norse Philology at the University of Copenhagen. His publications include articles and books on various aspects of late pre-modern Icelandic literature, as well as editions and translations of a number of medieval and post-medieval Icelandic works.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Marie-Louise Coolahan

‘Of Female Poets who had names of old’

Reputation, Reception and the Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing

Fimmtudaginn 23. nóvember 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Marie-Louise Coolahan

This paper emerges from the research of the team working on the RECIRC project (The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700), funded by the European Research Council (2014-2019) and led by Marie-Louise Coolahan. The RECIRC project is essentially a study of intellectual impact. Its fundamental research questions include: Which women were read? How, where, and by whom were they read? RECIRC is structured around four interlinking ‘work packages’, each of which takes a specific entry point in order to amass quantitative data relating to the reception and circulation of women’s writing between 1550 and 1700. The first of these posits the Catholic religious orders as transnational channels by which devotional and polemical texts were translated and transmitted; it investigates the martyrologies and bibliographies of the various religious orders, as large-scale compendia of texts that included female-authored works. The second ‘work package’ examines scientific correspondence networks; the wealth of data to be found in the scriptorium operated through Samuel Hartlib has meant we have focused specifically on this circle. The third approach aims to rebalance the bias of digitization projects toward print culture by harvesting data from early modern manuscripts. It does so by focusing solely on the category of the manuscript miscellany (a compilation of miscellaneous materials) in order to assess the contexts for excerpting and transcribing women’s writing. It differs from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) initiative, which is a full-text transcription project, in its harvesting and structuring of data relating specifically to reception and circulation. The fourth RECIRC approach is concerned with early modern library catalogues; it captures data on the proportion of female-authored items in order to facilitate statistical analysis relating to the gendering of such book collections.

RECIRC, then, is testing these methodological approaches for understanding the ‘big picture’ of textual transmission, reception and circulation of women’s writing in the English-speaking world during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This includes writers who were read in Ireland and Britain as well as authors born and resident in Anglophone countries The focus on women’s writing enables investigation of the routes to impact that were exploited by early modern women, as well as of the ways gender inflected the construction of writerly reputation. It also delimits the corpus, facilitating our testing of methodologies for studying the circulation of non-elite, non-canonical writing in the period.

Marie-Louise Coolahan is Professor of English at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is the author of Women, Writing, and Language in Early Modern Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2010). She is currently Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded project, RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700 (www.recirc.nuigalway.ie).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Kristján Árnason

Upphaf íslenskrar tungu

Formvandi og stöðuvandi á norrænum miðöldum

Fimmtudaginn 16. nóvember 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Kristján Árnason

Menn hafa lengi haft og hafa enn áhyggjur af dauða íslenskrar tungu. Frægt er kvæði Eggerts Ólafssonar Um sótt og dauða íslenskunnar, en samkvæmt því dó tungan úr iðrakvefi sem rekja mátti til lélegs málfars þeirra sem hana notuðu; það sem nú er helst talið ógna er það sem kallað hefur verið stafrænn dauði. Hugsjónin um varðveislu tungunnar virðist þó lifa, a.m.k. opinberlega. Ég vil leiða hugann að hinum enda þess „lífs“ sem vernda skal, þ.e. hvernig tungan varð til.

Flestum myndi þykja eðlilegt að miða upptök tungunnar við þróun sérstakrar menningar hér á landi á miðöldum. En hvaðan kom tungunni og menningunni nauðsynlegur og nægilegur kraftur og stuðningur til þess að „verða til“? Hvaða hugsjónir eða hugmyndafræði (ef einhver) bjó að baki? Ég mun ræða þessa þætti á grundvelli þess sem lesa má út úr íslenskum miðaldaritum sem fjalla beint um tungumálið og bókmenntirnar, málfræði og skáldskaparfræði. Helstu rit í þeim flokki eru Snorra-Edda og málfræðiritgerðirnar fjórar í Wormsbók. Einnig mun ég leiða hugann að félagslegum, pólitískum og málformlegum forsendum þess að það ritmálsviðmið, sem við (í vissum skilningi) búum enn við, náði þeim þroska sem raunin ber vitni. Hvað studdi og hvað ógnaði þessu nýja „lífi“, sem kannski var þó ekki nýtt, heldur enn eldra? Latína var alþjóðamál þess tíma, og spurning er að hve miklu leyti hún ógnaði heimamálinu eins og enska gerir nú. Hér er fróðlegt að huga að því hvers vegna Noregskonungasögur voru ritaðar á norrænu, en saga Dana á latínu.

Spurningarnar eru stórar, en ég mun ræða þær í ljósi nútíma málvísinda, þeirra sem fást við stöðlun og þróun og eftir atvikum „dauða“ tungumála. Ekki síst verður vitnað til kenningasmiðanna Einars Haugens og Heinz Kloss, en mér sýnist að þeir hafi ýmislegt gagnlegt til málanna að leggja. Með sínum hætti voru Snorri Sturluson, Ólafur hvítaskáld og aðrir málfræðingar tólftu, þrettándu og fjórtándu aldar að bregðast við formvanda og stöðuvanda tungunnar, og almennt séð átti sér stað merkilegur vöxtur og efling (e. elaboration) málsins þegar það tókst á við nýjar hugmyndir utan úr heimi. Og það er allt á sinn hátt hliðstætt málræktarstarfi 20. aldar.

Kristján Árnason er prófessor emeritus í íslenskri málfræði. Hann lauk kandídatsprófi í íslenskri málfræði frá Háskóla Íslands 1974 og doktorsprófi í almennum málvísindum frá Edinborgarháskóla 1977. Rannsóknir hans og kennsla hafa beinst að hljóðkerfisfræði, bragfræði og skáldskaparfræði, málsögu og félagsmálfræði. Hann sat um árabil í Íslenskri málnefnd og var formaður hennar 1989–2001.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Anne Mette Hansen

“Fragment af en Papistisk Bönnebog”

Medieval Danish prayer books in the Arnamagnæan Collection

Fimmtudaginn 9. nóvember 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Anne Mette Hansen

The extant Danish private prayer books all originate from the period between late 1400 and the time of the Reformation in Denmark in 1536. The standard edition includes about 30 manuscript books, 12 of which were acquired by Árni Magnússon, and two collections of fragments. The quote above is written by Árni in his notes on the acquisition of the manuscript at the auction of the library of another book collector, Frederik Rostgaard, in 1726. On this occasion, in fact, Árni bought several prayer books for his collection including some of other European provenance. In the lecture, I will present my work on Danish prayer books, addressing, among others, the following issues: the use of the books, the meaning of the physical appearance, and the transposition from text-bearing artefact to scholarly edition.

Anne Mette Hansen (PhD, University of Copenhagen) is Associate Professor in Old Norse Philology at the Arnamagnæan Institute, Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen. Her research covers a number of areas within manuscript studies and textual and literary scholarship, such as codicology and palaeography, history of books, scholarly editing and the history of edition. Her approaches are material and cross-disciplinary. Current research projects include artefactual and textual studies of late medieval and post-reformation private prayer books in Danish and research on script and language of charters from the archive of St Clara convent at Roskilde. She is also working on the digital editions of these documents.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Chip Robinson

An Open Secret of Icelandic Otherworldly Communication

Fimmtudaginn 2. nóvember 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Chip Robinson

In this talk, it will be argued that supernatural references in medieval Icelandic literature can be approached in the light of modern Icelandic practice of otherworldly communication. Literary motifs are not merely story elements; rather, they reflect a type of experience for participants and perform a social and cultural function in historical and geographical context, then and now. What is examined is how Icelanders interact with the other world, that is, the deceased, guardian spirits, and nature beings through prophetic dreams, mediums, and direct experience in landscape and in community. Recent multidisciplinary research is considered along with current folk practice, that is, scholarly and popular aspects. Supernatural phenomena are mediated in numerous ways, not just by mediums but also by media, nature, clergy, dreams, guardian spirits, folklore, and medieval literature, to arrive at what is termed an ethnography of the other world. Syncretic traditions are taken into account as they conceal parallel spiritual experiences and practices in Icelandic society including in the beyond, or hinum megin. As a comparative study on an island over time there is cultural durability in such concepts as spáfólk, álagablettir, að vitja nafns, berdreyminn, and bænahringir—an open secret of Icelandic otherworldly communication.

Chip Robinson holds a PhD in Germanic Languages from the University of California Los Angeles 2017, MA in Medieval Icelandic Studies from the University of Iceland 2015, MA in Scandinavian from the University of California Los Angeles 2013, as well as MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College Boston 2004. He worked as librarian in Acquisitions, Cataloging, and Technical Services in the Germanic Division of Harvard College Library 1995–2010.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Mikael Males

Snorri and the Sagas

Medieval Icelandic authors and their methods

Fimmtudaginn 26. október 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögberg 101

Mikael Males

The use of Icelandic sources to bolster the historical pedigree of the Scandinavian states from the seventeenth century onwards has been relatively well studied. In the case of Sweden, the seventeenth century saw the rise of the Swedish political star at the expense of the Danes, and the Icelandic sources provided the Swedes with a welcome opportunity to match the present state of affairs with a respectable historical background. These sources were used to show how old and excellent the Swedish nation was, and in our present era of Western self-criticism, such practices have attracted much attention in Scandinavia, Germany and elsewhere. Less interest has been accorded to the fact that the Icelandic sources were so readily useful for later nationalistic purposes, and why this might have been the case. This must be explained through recourse to the texts themselves, and this book focuses on the methods and interests of the medieval Icelandic authors in presenting their own cultural history and that of the Scandinavian realms.

There can be little doubt that medieval Icelanders took their role as transmitters of Nordic history seriously, but it is equally clear that their own past as pagan Vikings was often as fascinating and exotic to them as it was to many in later periods, and still is. Their way of transmitting the past was therefore an active and often a creative one. Awareness of this fact has, at least since the early twentieth century, led to a long debate regarding whether the Icelandic texts can be trusted as historical witnesses, and many studies have focused on to what extent the sagas are right or wrong. Others have opted for solving the problem by treating the sagas as literature without taking their diachronic value into account. This book aims for an intermediate solution, namely that of focusing on the methods of the authors in presenting their past, and how this conditioned the nature of the literary corpus. It argues that an analysis of their methods and interests, preferably on a case-by-case basis, may be a fruitful approach to Old Icelandic texts as witnesses to history.

Mikael Males is Associate Professor of Old Norse Philology at the University of Oslo, specializing in skaldic poetry and grammatical literature.

—o—

Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda á dönsku

Nýjar þýðingar kynntar í hádegismálstofu

Fimmtudaginn 26. október 2017 kl. 12–13
Lögberg 204

Hinn íslenski sagnaflokkur fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda kemur um þessar mundir út í nýjum dönskum þýðingum. Þetta er fyrsta heildarþýðing fornaldarsagna á dönsku. Þótt sögurnar fjalli um fornkonunga á Norðurlöndum — og ekki síst í Danmörku — hefur um helmingur þeirra aldrei áður komið út á dönsku. Snemma á 19. öld þýddi Carl Christian Rafn úrval fornaldarsagna og gaf út í þremur bindum (1821–1826; aukin endurútgáfa 1829–1830) en hann undanskildi listrænar perlur eins og Gautreks sögu, Hrólfs sögu Gautrekssonar, Egils sögu einhenda og Ásmundar berserkjabana og Bósa sögu, enda fannst honum að fornaldarsögur „fra den poetiske Side betragtede, [ikke] have nogen besynderlig Fortrinlighed“. Sögurnar sem Rafn sleppti hafa fram að þessu aldrei komið út á dönsku, þótt sumar þeirra hafi verið þýddar á allt að tíu önnur tungumál.

Nýju dönsku þýðingarnar koma út í átta bindum hjá danska forlaginu Gyldendal, fyrstu fjögur bindin hafa þegar birst og afgangurinn er væntanlegur á næstu tveimur árum. Annette Lassen ritstýrir verkinu, og danski listamaðurinn Peter Brandes myndskreytir og hannar útlit bókanna, en þýðendur eru auk ritstjóra Peter Springborg, Erik Skyum-Nielsen, Rolf Stavnem og Kim Lembek. Aðalheiður Guðmundsdóttir og Gottskálk Jensson veita fræðilega ráðgjöf en danski rithöfundurinn Merete Pryds Helle er bókmenntalegur málfarsráðunautur.

Í stuttum hádegiserindum mun Annette Lassen fyrst segja frá þessari nýju heildarþýðingu og hugmyndunum að baki, Kim Lembek mun ræða vandann að þýða fornaldarsögur í samanburði við þýðingar Íslendingasagna; þá fjallar Rolf Stavnem um þýðingar sínar á eddukvæðum í fornaldarsögum, og loks mun Peter Springborg skemmta áheyrendum með upplestri úr þýðingu sinni á Örvar-Odds sögu.

Erindin verða flutt bæði á dönsku og íslensku.

—o—

Daniel Sävborg

The Formula in the Icelandic Family Saga

Miðvikudaginn 25. október 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Daniel Sävborg

It is well known that Icelandic saga prose contains formulas, but very little thorough research has been devoted to them so far. The attempts to analyze them precisely as formulas have usually taken their starting point in the so-called Oral-Formulaic Theory and the theories of Milman Parry and Albert Lord. But in the Oral-Formulaic Theory, the formula as a phenomenon was closely connected with the metrical form and the rapidity of the improvized oral performance in verse, two features without relevance to the prose genre of Íslendingasögur, which stands in focus for my research. In my analysis of the saga formulas, I will rather connect with modern linguistic theory on formulaic language and to folkloristic theory on oral tradition. The lecture will discuss the function, meaning and form of the formulas in the Íslendingasögur. A selection of saga formulas will be discussed, such as X hét maðr; tókusk með þeim góðar ástir; and X vanði kvámur sínar til Y. In the lecture, I will argue that the formula use in the Íslendingasögur is of fundamental importance for the stylistic/literary character of the genre and that a lack of understanding of the saga formulas several times has led to misinterpretations of central saga episodes.

Daniel Sävborg is Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Tartu since 2010; before that he held research positions at Uppsala University and Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum. He has background in studies of Classical Greek and Comparative literature and holds a Ph.D. from Stockholm University with a dissertation on grief and elegy in Eddic heroic poetry. He has published on on topics such as love and emotions in Old Norse literature, the Uppsala Edda and its relation to the other Snorra Edda versions, the supernatural in Old Norse literature, folkloristic approaches to the saga literature, courtly style vs. saga style in the riddarasögur, Old Norse and Old Swedish sources to medieval Swedish history, oral tradition behind medieval Nordic historiography, tradition and originality in the post-classical Íslendingasögur, and the importance of the conversion in Njáls saga.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Ármann Jakobsson

Að sjá tröll

Um yfirnáttúrulegar skynjanir á miðöldum

Fimmtudaginn 19. október 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Ármann Jakobsson

The Troll Inside You: Paranormal Activity in the Medieval North kom út í sumar hjá Punctum-forlaginu í Bandaríkjunum sem einkum sérhæfir sig í ritum undir áhrifum póstmódernisma. Í bókinni er fengist við rammann utan um hugmyndir og rannsóknir á yfirnáttúrulegum verum og atburðum með íslenska frásagnartexta á miðöldum sem þungamiðju. Þannig er meginefnið hin yfirnáttúrulega reynsla, hvernig henni er komið í orð og tengsl hennar við aðra þætti samfélagsins, þ.e. hvernig tröllskapur er vitnisburður um hvers konar samfélagslegan núning og vandamál. Í erindinu mun höfundurinn kynna þetta verk, rannsóknina sem það grundvallast á og forsendur verksins. Eins mun hann ræða hugmyndafræði verksins og gildi hinnar hugvísindalegu nálgunar þar sem verkið er öðrum þræði í viðræðu við langa rannsóknarhefð tengd þjóðfræðilegum efnum og yfirnáttúrulegri reynslu.

Ármann Jakobsson er prófessor í íslenskum bókmenntum fyrri alda við Háskóla Íslands. Hann hefur áður gefið út bækurnar Illa fenginn mjöður (2009), Nine Saga Studies (2013) og A Sense of Belonging (2014) og ritstýrt The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas (2017).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Árni Daníel Júlíusson

Lesið í leifarnar

Um menningar- og búsetulandslag miðalda í Dalvíkurbyggð og Hörgársveit

Fimmtudaginn 5. október 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Árni Daníel Júlíusson

Menningar- og búsetulandslag tveggja meginbyggða Eyjafjarðar á miðöldum er viðfangsefni þessa fyrirlestrar. Þessar byggðir eru Hörgárdalur og Svarfaðardalur (nú Hörgársveit og Dalvíkurbyggð). Menjar um kuml og forn- (fjölskyldu) kirkjur eru mestar við ströndina og virðast benda til þess að þar hafi byggðin verið mest í fyrstu. Nú síðast fannst stórmerkur kumlateigur í Dysnesi sem fellur vel inn í þá mynd sem áður er komin fram.

Fornleifar og ritheimildir gefa sérstaklega skýra mynd af dreifingu kumla og fornkirkna á þessu svæði, mynd sem óvíða er að fá annars staðar jafn skýra. Víða um svæðið, sérstaklega um það norðanvert, í Svarfaðardal og Árskógsströnd, getur að líta garðlög, fornar girðingar. Þær gefa góða hugmynd um hvernig landnýtingu var háttað og einnig þá hugmynd að landamerki hafi verið þau sömu í þessum sveitum um mjög langan tíma, því þær eru oft á núverandi landamerkjum. Miklar minjar um búsetulandslagið eru einnig dreifðar um allt svæðið, eins og rústir af seljum, sem eru nánast við hvern bæ víða í Svarfaðardal og Hörgárdal, en mun færri í sveitunum við ströndina. Rústir af bæjum sem voru í byggð á miðöldum en hafa síðan verið í eyði eru mjög víða.

Hvernig ber að lesa í þessar gríðarlegu leifar? Hvernig tengjum við saman og túlkum einstaka þætti þeirra? Ritheimildir, sem koma til sögunnar eftir 1100, bæta síðan í myndina, aðeins lítið í fyrstu, en síðan meir og meir. Við lok 12. aldar verða miklir atburðir í héraðinu sem skráðir eru í Guðmundar sögu dýra. Átök standa milli að því er virðist tvenns konar pólitískra kerfa, hins gamla goðorðakerfis annars vegar og nýs höfðingjaveldis hins vegar. Í þessum heimildum sést skyndilega inn í heim höfuðbóla, stórbýla, virkja, sem bæta alveg nýjum drætti í myndina af byggðinni. Skjalaheimildir bætast við og verða miklar að vöxtum á 14. og 15. öld. Þær gefa líka alveg nýja innsýn í byggðina, skipulag hennar og efnahag, og vísa jafnframt aftur í tímann, í þeim eru vísbendingar um eldri tíma. Rannsóknirnar sem þessi fyrirlestur byggir á voru gerðar við Þjóðminjasafnið, í rannsóknastöðu Dr. Kristjáns Eldjárns. Hluti þeirra var lagður fram í bókinni Miðaldir í skuggsjá Svarfaðardals, en hér bætist við stórt svæði og ný túlkun. Hvaða sögu má segja út frá þessum heimildum? Hvaða þróun varð í þessu samfélagi við Eyjafjörð á tímabilinu 870–1500? Í fyrirlestrinum verður reynt að svara þeim spurningum.

Árni Daníel Júlíusson er fræðimaður við Þjóðminjasafnið og ReykjavíkurAkadamemíuna. Hann hefur doktorspróf frá Kaupmannahafnarháskóla og hefur sent frá sér fjölda greina og bóka um fræðasvið sitt, bændasamfélag fyrir nútímavæðingu. Á meðal rita hans má nefna Landbúnaðarsögu Íslands 1. og 2. bindi.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á íslensku og er öllum opinn.

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Margaret Cormack

Holy Water, Holy Wells

Justification of the Spring Blessings of Guðmundr Arason

Fimmtudaginn 28. september 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Margaret Cormack

On the continent and the British Isles, a tradition of ‘holy wells’—wells that are ‘other’ than everyday water sources, which may have special powers of healing, foretelling the future, or even cursing—are today often associated with saints, although in some cases their use can often be traced to the prehistoric period. Not so Iceland, whose human habitation began in the ninth century. However, many Icelandic springs/wells had a reputation for healing powers in medieval times, which in some cases survived to the present day. These water sources are commonly associated with Bishop Guðmundr the Good Arason (d. 1237), a religious innovator whose activity, including the blessing of water sources caused controversy. Fourteenth-century versions of his saga contain a defense of the practice, said to have been delivered to the Archbishop of Trondheim; an analysis of this defense forms the main part of my paper. I will discuss various means of producing ‘Holy Water’, and then discuss the origins of the ideas presented in Guðmundr’s defence of his practice of blessing springs.

Margaret Cormack is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston, SC, and Affiliate Professor in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Iceland. She has published The Saints in Iceland: Their Veneration from the Conversion to 1400 and edited several volumes pertaining to the cult of saints at different times and locations. She is interested in vernacular religion in all its forms.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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Kristján Ahronson, Jonathan Wooding, and Alexis Pantos

Marked caves in Scotland and Iceland

Recording an early medieval phenomenon

Fimmtudaginn 21. september 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Kristján Ahronson

Early medieval religious impulse marked hundreds of special places with simple sculpture across the Irish and Scottish littoral zone. In Scotland, marking caves with rock-cut crosses and other early Christian carvings was a discrete subset within a wider early medieval monastic tradition. Looking to Iceland, we discover a similar phenomenon and, critically, recent research identifies what appears to be the earliest human presence on the island at and in the immediate vicinity of a cave site, around AD 800.

Detailed analysis of the sculpture suggests that the Scottish and Icelandic phenomena are connected. A suite of typological similarities makes a persuasive case for connections between the Icelandic and Scottish cave sites: a number of shared features such as the distinctive sunken form, expanded terminals, bold V-cuts and sinkings indicate particular connections between the Seljaland caves (Vestur-Eyjafjallahreppur, southern Iceland) and western Scotland, as well as wider connections to the Irish and Scottish littoral zone more generally. However, there are also regional differences.

Building on the recent publication of Into the Ocean: Vikings, Irish and Environmental Change in Iceland and the North (University of Toronto Press, 2015), this presentation is the very first airing for new recording and illustration of rock-cut crosses from southern Iceland.

Kristján Ahronson is a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Bangor University, UK. He is interested in the medieval north Atlantic, inter-disciplinary thinking, and in the ways that people relate to their environments. Recent publications include Into the Ocean: Vikings, Irish and Environmental Change in Iceland and the North (University of Toronto Press, 2015)

Jonathan Wooding is Sir Warwick Fairfax Professor of Celtic Studies at the University of Sydney. His research interests are in early medieval Celtic and North Atlantic history, with special interests in monasticism, pilgrimage and literature of travel — especially the Irish ‘voyage’ tales, such as the Nauigatio of St Brendan.

Alexis Pantos MA MSc is a freelance archaeological photographer specialising in digital imaging techniques and heritage visualisation.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Jean-Claude Schmitt

History of Social Rhythms in the Middle Ages

Miðvikudaginn 20. september 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Jean-Claude Schmitt

Rhythms do not only involve music, speech, dance or biological functions. They are also social phenomena. The measure of time, the organization of work, of the day, weeks, months and years, this and much more is shaped by social forces. Rhythms vary form one society to another, more particularly from one historical period to another. Social rhythms have been studied by social scientists for a long time, as well as by philosophers and art historians. The historical comparison of social rhythms has however been neglected. The conference will present the results of Jean-Claude Schmitt‘s extensive research on social rhythms in the Middle Ages. They were published last year in a landmark study: Les rythmes au Moyen Âge (‘Rhythms of the Middle Ages’).

Social rhythms do not only manifest themselves in the way time is accounted for or in the tempo of the day. They can also be perceived in numerous types of social behaviour, as well as individual lifestyles, architecture, visual arts, poetry and of course music.

Rhythms in the Middle Ages were shaped to a large degree by the Christian faith, which was dominant in the period. The story of the Creation is echoed in the organization of the week and the Church year commemorates stages in the life of Christ, from his birth to his crucifixion. But other things also had an impact on the rhythms of medieval society as will be discussed in the conference, which will be illustrated by numerous examples from the visual culture of the Middle Ages, on which prof. Schmitt has produced much innovative research over the years.

Jean-Claude Schmitt is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is one of the best known representatives of his generation of the Annales school in historical research. He has been a pioneer in historical research which is also inspired by anthropology and folkloristics, but also in the interdisciplinary study of medieval visual culture. Schmitt has written a number of books which have been translated into many languages, among others Ghosts in the Middle Ages (1998), La Raison des gestes dans l’Occident médiéval (1990) and, published last year, Les Rythmes au Moyen-Âge (2016).

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

—o—

Frank Brandsma

How did they do it? Sex in the Middle Ages

Þriðjudaginn 29. ágúst 2017 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Frank Brandsma

Of course medieval people had sex, otherwise we would not exist. But did they do things differently then? In a time of arranged marriages was there room for love and passion? How did people fall in love? To answer all of the questions you may come up with, we will look at images and texts representing sex, sexual behaviour and rules of conduct (also for dummies). Chivalric romance presents role models, but there also are more factual texts, describing how children are conceived, how twins are possible, and so on. The animal world provided important lessons for medieval lovers as well. The meeting will take the form of a Q&A rather than a traditional lecture.

Frank Brandsma teaches Comparative Literature (Middle Ages) at Utrecht University. In his research, he focuses on narrative technique and emotions in Arthurian Literature. He has published widely on this subjects, on the narrative technique of interlace and on the presentation of direct discourse in medieval romance. With Dr. Sif Ríkharðsdóttir and others, he will teach an international class on Arthurian Literature this fall semester in Reykjavik and Utrecht.

Fyrirlesturinn verður fluttur á ensku og er öllum opinn.

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