IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 618: The Ambigious Wilderness in Icelandic Romances: Threat and Enticement

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Hans Jacob Orning, Historisk institutt, Høgskolen i Volda
Moderator/Chair:Annette Lassen, Faculty of Humanities, University of Iceland, Reykjavík
Paper 618-aFrom Diffuse Wilderness to 'Axis of Evil'?: Imagining 'The Other' in Old Norse Culture
(Language: English)
Hans Jacob Orning, Historisk institutt, Høgskolen i Volda
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Literacy and Orality, Mentalities
Paper 618-bMotifs in Motion: Lygisögur and the Exotic
(Language: English)
Karoline Kjesrud, Department of Linguistics & Scandinavian Studies, Universitetet i Oslo
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Literacy and Orality, Mentalities
Paper 618-cRetrieving the Sword: Re-Writing the Saga
(Language: English)
Karl G. Johansson, Department of Linguistics & Scandinavian Studies, Universitetet i Oslo
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Literacy and Orality, Mentalities
Abstract

In the 13th century about 30 chivalric sagas were translated from European languages into Old Norse (riddarasögur). At the same time, a similar number of sagas were written in Iceland, depicting heroes from a distant past in the northern world (fornaldarsögur), which have been labelled Le matiére du nord. In the following centuries the two genres merged into a new one in Iceland, the writing of indigenous sagas about foreign heroes (lýgisögur). The wilderness plays an important role in these sagas as an area contrasting the ‘civilised’ world, filled with sorcery and magic. However, the wilderness also functioned as a vital, and sometimes even positively charged, world that it was necessary to interact with. The papers in this session will explore the role of the wilderness in the different saga genres in the 13th and 14th centuries.