Eyjar í norrænum fornbókmenntum (Islands in Medieval Norse Literature)

Málstofan verður í Aðalbyggingu Háskólans laugardaginn 16. mars kl. 13.00-12.00.

Eyjur eru umluktar vatni og því bæði heimur út af fyrir sig og í greiðum tengslum við önnur landsvæði séu farkostir fyrir hendi. Í bókmenntum skipa eyjar sérstakan sess, ekki síst í norrænum fornbókmenntum, bæði kveðskap og sögum. Í málstofunni verður stuðst við nýjar hræringar í hug- og félagsvísindum (hið svokallaða „spatial turn“) til að fjalla um hlutverk og merkingu eyja í norrænum miðaldabókmenntum. Fyrirlestrarnir munu fjalla um sjálfsmynd eyjaskeggja, um eyjar og útlegð, um eyjur sem sérstaka tegund rýmis þar sem líklegt er að verða fyrir reynslu af hinu óræða. Einnig verður spurt hvort og á hvern hátt það skipti máli að Ísland er eyland.

Málstofan er haldin í tengslum við rannsóknarverkefnið „Islands in Saga Iceland“ sem nýverið fékk styrk úr Rannsóknarsjóði HÍ.

Fyrirlestrar og umræður verða á ensku.

Fyrirlesarar:

  • Torfi H. Tulinius, prófessor: Islands and Identity in Medieval Iceland
  • Anna Katharina Heiniger, doktorsnemi: Islands as Liminal Space in the Íslendingasögur
  • Marion Poilvez, doktorsnemi: Islands and Outlaws in Icelandic Medieval Literature

Málstofustjóri: Emily D. Lethbridge, nýdoktor við Miðaldastofu

 

Útdrættir:

Torfi H. Tulinius, prófessor í íslenskum miðaldafræðum: Islands and Identity in Medieval Iceland

Within the wider question of medieval Icelanders‘ perception of themselves as a group, this paper explores the representation of islands and island dwellers in medieval Icelandic literature. The question in focus is whether the fact that Iceland is an island contributed to the way its inhabitants understood themselves. Paul Ricoeur‘s concept of “narrative identity” will be used to describe the outlines of theoretical framework for the study of how medieval authors progressively established and explored a collective self-representation of Icelanders and their social world. In that context, references to Iceland as an island, in comparison with other insular communities mentioned in the sagas will be studied. The question under study is whether insularity was an important factor in the identity of medieval Icelanders.

 

Anna Katharina Heiniger, doktorsnemi: Islands as Liminal Space in the Íslendingasögur

In the (West) European lore, islands have always been regarded as outstanding places and have called for special attention and interest. Throughout the ages, they have been associated with the most different qualities, which are mostly binary opposites. It comes by no surprise then that islands have always inspired people's minds as literary and artistic motif.

In the mappae mundi, Scandinavia is mostly depicted as a cluster of islands that are rather randomly located and unclearly named. In addition, the medieval world maps push Northern Europe to the very periphery of the world in the lower left (and 'evil') corner. Being marginalised, the North was thought to be the habitat of monsters and other strange and terrible people only.

The Íslendingasögur, however, draw a rather different picture than the mappae mundi when it comes to the role and meaning of islands both in mainland Scandinavia and in and around Iceland. The discoverers and the first settlers do not seem to have been bothered by the fact that Iceland is an island in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean.

In this paper I will investigate how – or whether at all – the self-perception of Iceland/Icelanders in the Íslendingasögur (Eyrbyggja sagaGrettis saga and Egils saga) reflects the negative stigmatisation attached to the North by the medievalmappae mundi or the long-standing tradition of islands as liminal and segregated space primarily dominated by the supernatural.

 

Marion Poilvez, doktorsnemi: Islands and Outlaws in Icelandic Medieval Literature

The strategic value of a small island for a medieval outlaw can be easily understood. From Norway to Iceland and from the mainland to islands, newly outcast characters from the Íslendingasögur found in insular spaces the perfect fit for their new situation: close enough to the mainland to make necessary incursions and sometimes challenge established powers, yet far enough to be protected by a natural setting that could enable to build there an alternative social group. The narrative role of islands will be addressed too, as the island represents ultimately the isolated outlaw himself, the “island-like” character.

I will classify and analyze the use of small Icelandic islands by outlaws and their narrative function as a place of fate will be addressed. Moreover, the Icelandic full outlaw (skógarmaðr) was supposed to be óferjandi (forbidden to be transported) which had the consequence to make him prisoner of Iceland. I will explore the implication of insularity in the nature of the skóggangr and question whether or not Icelanders took advantage of their insular situation to create this unique penalty. This point will help to identify the Icelandic full outlawry as a scapegoating process only possible in an insular context.

 

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