Mánaðarskipt færslusafn fyrir: nóvember 2017

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu Háskóla Íslands

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.