Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

Lars Lönnroth

The border of reality

The Gautelfur area as “liminal space” in the sagas

Miðvikudaginn 22. september 2021 kl. 16.30
Lögbergi 101

Lars Lönnroth

The expression “liminal space” refers not only to the fact that the Gautelfur area in the Middle Ages constituted the border (landamæri] between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but also to the fact that this border area was often thought of in the sagas as a mysterious space where unusual things could happen (the meeting of kings, Viking attacks, amorous meetings with royal women, et cetera). I will also report on the latest archeological findings at the old border town of Konungahella, suggesting that this place is much older than historians have believed. The stories told in Iceland about Konungahella and the landamæri may also be older than scholars have thought until now.

Lars Lönnroth started his career in Uppsala, Sweden. HIs doctoral dissertation, European Sources of Icelandic Saga-Writing, was published in 1965. He was a teacher of Scandinavian literature at the University of California, Berkeley, between 1965 and 1974, when he became a professor at the University of Aalborg in Denmark. In 1982, he returned to Sweden and served as professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Gothenburg until 2000. His best-known books about Icelandic literature are Njáls Saga: A Critical Introduction (1976), Skaldemjödet I berget: Essayer om fornisländsk ordkonst och dess återanvändning i nutiden (1996), and The Academy of Odin: Selected Papers on Old Norse Literature (2011). He has also published his autobiography, Dörrar till främmande rum: Minnesfragment (2009). — On Thursday, September 23, at 15.00, Professor Lars Lönnroth will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies of the University of Iceland in recognition of his important work on medieval Icelandic literature.

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