Mánaðarskipt færslusafn fyrir: febrúar 2018

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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 ensku og er öllum opinn.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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.

Fyrirlestrar Miðaldastofu

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.