Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided as an overview. The course outline, readings, and assignments may be subject to change in the final syllabus as determined by the lecturer and/or preceptors.
This course provides an introduction to the myths and sagas of medieval Scandinavia. It examines the roots of this literature in the meeting of indigenous mythological and legendary traditions with the textual culture of medieval Christian Europe and the development the prose sagas of Norse kings and Icelanders. The course focuses on readings from authentic texts in translation but also discusses the wider cultural and historical context, including consideration of echoes from the medieval Norse literary tradition in modern culture and fiction.
This course includes two live 90-minute lectures per week with one 60-minute discussion session as assigned.
- Course Introduction; Scandinavia in the First Millennium AD
- Sources for Norse Mythology: The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda
- Norse Cosmology I: The Beginning of the World
- Norse Cosmology II: The End of the World
- Tales of the Gods in Norse Mythology (with a focus on Mighty Thor)
- The Style of Eddic Poetry in “Thrym’s Poem” (with guest lecturer Dr. Nelson Goering)
- Myth and Legend: The Development of the Volsung Legends
- The Style of Eddic Poetry in “A Short Poem about Sigurd” (with guest lecturer Dr. Nelson Goering)
- From Poetry to Saga: The Saga of the Volsungs
- Heroic Legend and the Development of Saga Literature
- Iceland from the Settlement to the End of the Commonwealth
- Saints and Kings, Personalities and Politics: the Development of the Kings’ Sagas and their Place in the Development of Saga Literature
- Overview of the Saga of Harald “Hard-ruler” Sigurðarson
- Icelanders and Kings: The Story of Audun
- Overview of Egil’s Saga (Part I)
- Overview of Egil’s Saga (Part II)
- Stylistics and Authorship of Egil’s Saga (with guest lecturer Dr. Paul Peterson)
- From Outside to Inside: Egil’s Saga in the Development of Saga Literature
- Overview of Gisli Sursson’s Saga
- All in the Family: Gisli Sursson’s Saga in the Development of Saga Literature
- Overview of Laxdœla Saga (Part I)
- Overview of Laxdœla Saga (Part II)
- Laxdœla Saga: From a Golden Age to a Pewter Age
- On Beyond Laxdale: Further Developments in Saga Literature, the Afterlife of the Sagas, and Course Wrap-Up
Students may use the print, e-book, or free online texts for all required texts. The print and e-book translations linked first are preferred, but free online alternatives are also acceptable. Further required and suggested readings will be provided by the course instructors in the final syllabus.
- The Poetic Edda (Oxford World’s Classic, 2nd ed.) trans. Carolyne Larrington
- The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson (Penguin Classics) trans. Jesse Lewis Byock
- Alternative print text (Everyman’s Library) trans. Anthony Faulkes
- The Saga of the Volsungs (Penguin Classics) trans. Jesse Lewis Byock
- The Sagas of the Icelanders (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
- “Haralds Saga Sigurðarsonar” in Heimskringla III: Mágnús Óláfsson to Mágnús Erlingsson (University College London) trans. Alison Finlay and Anthony Faulkes
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Spring 2019||Dr. Carl Anderson|
|Fall 2017||Dr. Carl Anderson|