Doktorsnám: Íslenskar bókmenntir
Leiðbeinandi: Torfi Tulinius
Heiti doktorsverkefnis: Experiencing Liminality in the Íslendingasögur
In 1909 the French anthropologist Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) first published his famous monograph Les rites de passage and so introduced the concept of liminality into scholarship. Liminality refers to the middle phase of rites of passage, which accompany individuals and groups from one social state into another. Unfortunately, van Gennep's work remained neglected for several decades until the Scottish anthropologist Victor W. Turner (1920-83) re-discovered it in the 1960s. Only during the past few years, however, has liminality received considerable interest within medieval Scandinavian studies.
A direct application of the concept onto Old Norse literature poses intricate difficulties on several levels, such as the evasiveness of the phenomenon or the gap between a modern anthropological concept and medieval (fictional) literature. Hence not all elements which modern scholars term liminal within Old Norse literature adhere to van Gennep's and Turner's ideas. This calls for adapting the concept in order to turn it into a helpful tool whose application eventually enhances our understanding of the Old Norse perception of liminality. My thesis thus ventures to discuss how this concept can be adapted and amended to allow a fruitful application of liminality to the Old Norse genre of the Íslendingasögur.