IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1722: New Perspectives on the Study of Icelandic Sagas and Manuscripts

Thursday 5 July 2018, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Philip Cardew, Leeds Beckett University / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1722-aJarl Sigvaldi's Memory Gap in Jómsvíkinga saga: A Chance to What?
(Language: English)
Michael Irlenbusch-Reynard, Abteilung für Skandinavische Sprachen und Literaturen, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Political Thought
Paper 1722-bFilling the Gaps: Textual Addition and Variation in Þorskfirðonga Saga
(Language: English)
Philip Cardew, Leeds Beckett University / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian
Paper 1722-cA Case for Lasting Old Norwegian Influence in Northern Iceland
(Language: English)
Patrick Aaron Farrugia, Institutt for lingvistiske, litterære og estetiske studier, Universitetet i Bergen
Index terms: Computing in Medieval Studies, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Manuscripts and Palaeography

Paper -a:
Jómsvíkinga saga tells that King Sveinn of Denmark made the Jómsvikings so drunk that not only they take most daring vows, but their leader Sigvaldi cannot recall any of this the next morning. It is his wife Ástríðr who fills in Sigvaldi’s memory gap, and she also prepares a strategy for her husband to renegotiate terms with the king. The description of her involvement varies in the saga’s redactions, but as Ástríðr is now about to plot against king Sveinn already for the second time, this paper will investigate how her dealing with that lapse of memory is part of the proposed image of the Danish kings.

Paper -b:
The oldest source for Þorskfirðinga Saga (Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum, AM 561 4to) has two areas of lacuna which cause a minor hiatus in the middle of the narrative and a more damaging one towards the end. These lacunae make their way into the majority of printed editions, notably the most recent, Vol. XIII in the Íslenzk Fornrit series (edited by Bjarni Vilhjálmsson in 1991). However, a number of printed editions (notably K. Kålund, 1878, and Valdimar Ásmundarson, 1897) include additions which complete the narrative taken from later paper manuscripts, many of which emanate from the Westfjords, and thus share a geographical proximity with the Saga.

This paper will look at these textual additions, some of which further complicate the generic identity of a saga which, in all its forms, can be seen as something of an oddity. In particular, some aspects of the ‘complete’ texts, display an intertextuality which hints at pastiche and subverts the narrative as a whole.

Pper -c:
In the case of a group of 14th-century Icelandic manuscripts, namely Stockholm, National Library, Holm. Perg. 8vo nr. 10 IX, Copenhagen, Arnamagnæan Institute, AM 573 4to, Copenhagen, Arnamagnæan Institute, AM 764 4to, and Reykjavík, Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, Möðruvallabók AM 132 fol., both philological data and historical anecdotes suggest that these manuscripts are linked with the Northern part of Iceland, particularly the area that is more or less centred around the historical episcopal see at Hólar. Additionally, these manuscripts have peculiar features that may suggest a dialectal variation in this particular area of Northern Iceland, and/or a continued Old Norwegian influence into the late 14th century.

Through an examination of the philological and historical data, I will attempt to elucidate the apparently continual cultural connection between Norway and Iceland in this region beyond the Black Death, which supposedly left Iceland culturally and linguistically isolated from Norway. This inter-disciplinary approach will hopefully yield a link between the two cultures that could not have been made using only one of the disciplines in isolation.

In this project, I will aim to fill in the gaps in the current research surrounding these manuscripts through the use of digital transcriptions according to the MENOTA standard, XML mark-up, the generation of data tables, and a searchable database, and a comparative look at the cultural and historical records. Subsequently, I will conduct an analysis designed to determine whether these manuscripts indeed share common scribes (with possible connections to both Norway and Iceland), whether it can be said with any certainty that they originate from the same centre of manuscript production, and whether their contents display a distinctly regional variety of Old Icelandic influenced by the Old Norwegian language and scribal practice.