Doktorsnám: Íslenskar bókmenntir
Leiðbeinandi: Gísli Sigurðsson
Heiti doktorsverkefnis: The Supernatural Origins and the Continuity of Poetry and Power: The Horizons of Memory in Skáldatal
The subject of my research is Skáldatal – the list of professional poets and of powerful rulers for and of whom these poets composed their verses, from the times of legendary heroes (such as Starkaðr and Ragnarr lóðbrok) to the thirteenth century. Two versions of Skáldatal are known, and both are found in contexts closely connected to the Sturlungs. The most common attitude towards Skáldatal has been to see it as a useful reference aid, a register of professionals and their authoritative works. It is my contention that an attentive reading of Skáldatal, in connection with the list‘s cultural context, can yield a wealth of information about the images of a skald and his poetry, current in late thirteenth – early fourteenth centuries. Applying the discourse of memory studies to the study of Skáldatal, I explore the origins of poetry and political power as they are put forward in the list, and the ways in which these origins, containing supernatural elements, shape the intertwined identities of professional poets and powerful political leaders. As a result of this exploration, a complex picture emerges, of a skald as a powerful memory specialist working at the intersections of different times, lands, and even different worlds.