Old Norse is a term used broadly to refer to languages and dialects of Viking Age and Medieval Scandinavia, and sometimes more specifically to refer to Old Icelandic, the form of the language used in Medieval Iceland. It was in Old Icelandic that largest pre-modern Scandinavian literature was written, including the prose sagas and a wealth of mythological and legendary poetry. This course begins with a focus on Old Icelandic grammar, with the immediate aim of helping students develop basic reading abilities in the language, though also highlighting connections to other Germanic languages as a gateway to Germanic philology. In the second half of the course, students start to use this linguistic and grammatical knowledge to begin reading from a selection of Old Icelandic prose and poetic texts, as well as, in conclusion, to look beyond Old Icelandic to selected Viking Age runic texts.
There will be 2 one-hour prerecorded lectures per week, with two weekly discussion sessions as assigned. Please remember to indicate your availability and time zone in the Goldberry registration system.
Note: The Summer 2023 semester will include a 1 week summer break June 19-23, 2023
Part I: Introduction and Grammar
Week 1: Introduction to the Course & Old Norse
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar: Chapter 1 (“Introduction”).
Week 2: Introduction to Grammar: Personal Pronouns & Nouns
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar: Section 3.2–3.2.1.
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar: Section 3.1.
Week 3: More Pronouns & Prepositions
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar: Sections 3.2.2–3.2.6 & 3.7.
Week 4: Adjectives & Numerals
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar: Sections 3.3 & 3.4.
Week 5: Adverbs & Intro to Verbs
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar: Sections 3.5 & 3.6.
Week 6: More Verbs, Conjunctions & Syntax
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part I: Grammar, sections 3.7, 3.8, & 3.9.
- Midterm Exam
Part II: Reading Texts
Week 7: Hrólfs saga kraka & Scandinavian Legendary History
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part II: Reader: Hrólfs saga kraka, Chapter 23 (“Bǫðvars þáttr), lines 1-40.
Week 8: “Frá smið ok Óðni” & Folklore in Old Norse Literature
- Böglunga sögur (ed. Jónsson): Chapter 20, “Frá smið ok Óðni”.
Week 9: “Auðunar þáttr” & Medieval Scandinavian Kingdoms
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part II: Reader: “Auðunar þáttr”, lines 1-41.
Week 10: “The Burning of Njáll” & Icelandic Family Sagas
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part II: Reader: Njáls saga: “The Burning of Njáll”, lines 107-192.
Week 11: “The Waking of Angantýr” & The Legacy of Old Norse: Tolkien
- The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise (ed. Tolkien, C.): “The Waking of Angantýr” (a.k.a. Herverarkviða), pp. 12-15 (inc. verses 18-27).
Week 12: Overview of Runes, Runic Inscriptions, and Viking Age Norse
- A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part II: Reader: Runic inscriptions: Kälvesten, Jelling II, Gripsholm.
- Final Exam
All required texts will be provided in class.
Optionally, students may purchase copies of A New Introduction to Old Norse Part 1 (Grammar) and Part 3 (Glossary) if they prefer printed copies. The Amazon links are provided for convenience only, and we encourage students to purchase the text wherever they wish.
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Summer 2023||Dr. Paul Peterson & Dr. Carl Edlund Anderson|
|Summer 2020||Dr. Paul Peterson & Dr. Carl Edlund Anderson|
|Summer 2018||Dr. Carl Edlund Anderson & Dr. Paul Peterson|
|Spring 2017||Dr. Carl Edlund Anderson & Dr. Nelson Goering|