Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature
Fimmtudaginn 8. nóvember 2018 kl. 16.30
The lecture will introduce the author’s recently published monograph Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature. Studies in Old Norse Literature (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2018). The hope of salvation and the fear of damnation were fundamental features of medieval life. Surprisingly therefore this topic has received relatively limited attention in Old Norse study. Damnation and Salvation in Old Norse Literature addresses this gap in the scholarship by adopting two main principal investigative approaches. One involves examining how the twin theme interacts with more familiar strands such as disputes and outlawry. The second explores how the theme shapes texts at the level of individual scenes and whole works. The study is less occupied with whether the twin theme holds the ‘key’ to unlock the meaning of certain texts and more with how it combines with other themes to reveal structural features and narrative patterns. It is argued that similar patterns and features reoccur throughout the corpus, albeit in a variety of ways reflecting the historical and literary contexts of a given text. The examined corpus includes Njáls saga, Laxdæla saga, Gísla saga Súrssonar, Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar, Sturlunga saga, the texts on King Óláfr Tryggvason, as well as the poems Sólarljóð and Harmsól.
Haki Antonsson is Associate Professor in Medieval Scandinavian Studies at University College London. His research focuses on the history and literature of Scandinavia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Previous publications include St Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-Cult in Context (Leiden: Brill 2007) and (with Ildar Garipzanov) Saints on the Periphery: Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000-1200) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010).
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