Tous les articles par Rédaction

Friðriksdóttir Jóhanna Katrín, Women in Old Norse literature: bodies, words, and power

Friðriksdóttir Jóhanna Katrín, Women in Old Norse literature: bodies, words, and power, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, XIV-192 p. ISBN: 978-0-230-12042-6

Compte rendu par/Review by : Craig R. Davis

The Medieval Review

Date : 14 Feb 2014

The primary focus of feminist literary criticism over the past few decades has been on the question of « agency, » that is, the autonomy or control authors depict fictional women as having over their own bodies, as well as the power of these characters to influence domestic or political affairs through speech and action. The medieval tradition of Old Norse poetry and prose, preserved mainly in Icelandic manuscripts, provides a full range of variously empowered female figures relevant to such study: young girls and grown women, housewives and queens, « good girls » and pioneer matriarchs, witches and « bitches »–plus goddesses, norns, sybils, valkyries, giantesses, she-beasts, shape-shifters, even manly women and womanly men, cross-dressers and transgendered. In the terms popularized by Judith Butler in Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), the « performance » of sexual identity is what characters do in Old Norse-Icelandic literature and very few of them are portrayed as oblivious to the gendered implications of their words and deeds. Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir’s contribution in this book is to demonstrate the diversity and nuance of the expression of sexual identity in Icelandic secular prose narratives and the multiplicity of situations in which it is brought to bear.

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Chameroy Jérémie, Guihard Pierre-Marie (dir.), Circulations monétaires et réseaux d’échanges en Normandie

Chameroy Jérémie, Guihard Pierre-Marie (dir.), Circulations monétaires et réseaux d’échanges en Normandie et dans le Nord-Ouest européen (Antiquité-Moyen Âge), Turnhout, Brepols (Tables rondes du CRAHM, vol. 8), 2012, 294 p. ISBN: 978-2-84133-420-9

Compte rendu par/Review by : Nils Bock


Date : 20 Mar 2014

Studien zum Münzverkehr müssen sich mit Fragen von Mengen, Bewegungen und der Zeit einer bestimmten Metallwährung auseinandersetzen: drei Parameter von hoher Komplexität. Hier bieten Datenbanksysteme die Möglichkeit, Daten zu erfassen, zu sammeln und darzustellen. Die in zwei Beiträgen präsente Datenbank »Nummus« in ihren Anwendungsmöglichkeiten vorzustellen, war vermutlich ein Grund, die dem vorliegenden Sammelband zugrundeliegende Table ronde am Centre Michel de Boüard (CRAHAM) der Universität Caen Basse-Normandie abzuhalten. Im Band versammelt sind Beiträge zur Normandie, den Britischen Inseln und Skandinavien, unter denen sich drei Artikel der vorrömischen Epoche, vier der römischen Antike und fünf dem Mittelalter widmen.

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Karlsen Espen (éd.), Latin manuscripts of medieval Norway: studies in memory of Lilli Gjerløw

Karlsen Espen (éd.), Latin manuscripts of medieval Norway: studies in memory of Lilli Gjerløw, Oslo, Novus Press, 2013, 424 p. ISBN: 978-82-7099-722-0

Compte rendu par/Review by : Jenny Jochens

The Medieval Review

Date : 10 Mar 2014

This large and beautiful book takes an important step into a new discipline: the study of fragments of medieval manuscripts. Available in all Scandinavian countries, this resource is particularly abundant in Norway. The volume is also a festschrift to honor Lilli Gjerløw, the outstanding pioneer in this field who died at the age of 88 in 1998 and to whom I shall return. It is well know that England played a large role in the Christianization of Norway. Arriving in the ninth century, English missionaries succeeded in converting numerous numbers of the population and establishing churches. Missionaries and monks celebrated services in Latin using the liturgy they knew from home and requiring books that were brought from England. Eventually Norwegians themselves learned to procure manuscripts from abroad and to employ scribes who were taught by English professionals established in the country. Like other medieval countries, Norway in this way came to possess sizeable libraries attached to churches and monasteries that contained enduring parchment manuscripts written mainly in Latin but later also in Old Norse. In the beginning these books contained the liturgy required in the services, so that changes adopted by the international church can be followed in their texts. As Christianity became firmly established, Norwegians progressed into Patristic writings as well as the classic medieval authors whose texts they also acquired or copied.

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Treharne Elaine, Living through conquest: the politics of early English, 1020-1220

Treharne Elaine, Living through conquest: the politics of early English, 1020-1220, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012, X-218 p. ISBN: 978-0-19-958526-7

Compte rendu par/Review by : Christopher A. Jones

The Medieval Review

Date : 6 Feb 2014

The fortunes of English between the later eleventh and early thirteenth centuries have enjoyed increased attention in recent decades, and no one has done more to energize this important area of research than Elaine Treharne. Many scholars of Old and earlier Middle English will be aware of her and others’ pioneering work on the topic, but its rewards and future promise still remain too little appreciated. The reason, in part, is that studies of English through the long twelfth century have often been highly specialized, with emphasis on linguistic and codicological detail. But other barriers, Treharne asserts, are institutional. The record of « late » and « transitional » Old English consists largely (but by no means exclusively) of anonymous adaptations of earlier homiletic prose by the likes of Aelfric and Archbishop Wulfstan, and these materials, usually perceived as derivative, tend to fall through the cracks of modern scholarship and curricula. Literary histories have therefore often dismissed as unoriginal and backward-looking a substantial body of English vernacular writing extant from the Norman Conquest down to the reigns of Henry II and his sons.

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Hicks Leonie V., Brenner Elma (dir.), Society and culture in medieval Rouen, 911-1300

Hicks Leonie V., Brenner Elma (dir.), Society and culture in medieval Rouen, 911-1300, Turnhout, Brepols (Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 39), 2013, 400 p. ISBN: 978-2-503-53665-1

Compte rendu par/Review by : Karen Schousboe

Medieval Histories

Date : Feb 2014

To a large extent the city of Rouen represents an unknown quantity. Originally it was founded by an ancient tribe, the Veliocasses, and used to control the lower Seine Valley and the estuary. They called it Ratumacos. Later it was renamed by the Romans as Rotomagus. It still holds the foundations of an amphitheatre and Roman baths. In the 5th century it became the seat of a bishopric and later – in Merovingian Gall – it functioned as capital of Neustria. However, Vikings repeatedly sacked the city in the late 9th century; in the aftermath they finally took over and turned it into their main capital in what later became the Duchy of Normandy. Finally it reached its apogee in the 11th to 13th century, during which period the inner city and its suburbs exploded while its political and economic significance was unparalleled (it even out-distanced Paris).

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Compte rendu par/Review by : Benjamin Pohl

Reviews in History

Date : 13 Mar 2014

This volume of collected essays explores the social and cultural history of the city of Rouen between the ‘foundation’ of Normandy under Rollo in 911 and the end of the 13th century. As David Bates points out in the book’s preface, Rouen so far has not received the attention which scholars have readily paid to other great cities throughout the Anglo-Norman World – including several other cities in Normandy, such as Caen, Bayeux and Lisieux. Undoubtedly, therefore, the present volume represents a welcome addition to the already existing range of compendiums devoted to important places and institutions in medieval Europe, as it caters to a long-standing desideratum within contemporary Anglo-Norman scholarship.

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Compte rendu par/Review by : David S. Spear

The Medieval Review

Date : 27 Oct 2014

Rouen was, and remains, the largest city in Normandy. Until about 1200 it was larger than Paris. What weakened Rouen was, first, the foundation of Caen, and second, the rise of Paris. Caen had been founded by William the Conqueror as a new outpost of his ducal power in central Normandy (Rouen, by contrast, was too far east in the duchy). Caen never surpassed Rouen in terms of population, but it had a large ducal castle and two very prestigious ducal abbeys (St.-Etienne for men, and La Trinité for women). In the later Middle Ages Normandy’s first university was in Caen, not Rouen. The rise of Paris vis-à-vis Rouen came about when King John lost the province of Normandy to the King of France in 1204. After that date, Philip Augustus lavished numerous resources on urban renewal in Paris, and seems to have actively thwarted further growth in Rouen. Later in the Middle Ages, Rouen experienced periods of effervescence, but was condemned to be always in the shadow of Paris.

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Bates David, Liddiard Robert (dir.), East Anglia and its North Sea world in the Middle Ages

Bates David, Liddiard Robert (dir.), East Anglia and its North Sea world in the Middle Ages, Woodbridge, Boydell Press, 2013, XIV-349 p. ISBN: 9781843838463

Compte rendu par/Review by : Richard C. Hoffmann

The Medieval Review

Date : 17 Apr 2014

The common intent of this collection’s seventeen essays may seem straightforward enough: how did the medieval regional community of East Anglia, the easternmost projection of England, engage with its maritime frontiers? Or is it all that clear? A potentially fecund ambiguity surfaces when the preface announces that « this book sets out to discuss medieval East Anglia » (xiii), while co-editor Robert Liddiard’s introduction claims that « this collection… takes the North Sea during the Middle Ages as its central theme… » (3) So, land or sea? Just two paragraphs in Liddiard’s fifteen pages do actually discuss the sea; all else is devoted to medieval human connections across it. This is, to be sure, a fair representation of the book itself, where « the North Sea world » is no marine environment but a barren stage where only human actors and artifacts move.

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Pons-Sanz Sara Maria, The lexical effects of Anglo-Scandinavian linguistic contact on Old English

Pons-Sanz Sara Maria, The lexical effects of Anglo-Scandinavian linguistic contact on Old English, Turnhout, Brepols (Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 1), 2013, XV-589 p. ISBN: 978-2-503-53471-8

Compte rendu par/Review by : Roberta Frank

The Medieval Review

Date : 2 May 2014

This study looks with exquisite care at the more than three hundred terms attested during the Anglo-Saxon period for which Norse derivation has been claimed. It analyzes their chronological and dialectal distribution (to the extent that this is possible), and probes the semantic and stylistic relationships between these terms and their native equivalents. Pons-Sanz’s rigorous skepticism (« is the evidence strong enough? ») means that few lexical items get through her interrogation unbattered and unbowed. Some words are rejected altogether as probably of native origin (e.g., OE cal « kale, » OE wrang « wrong, injustice »), one new word from Cnut’s laws is added. The author has a gift for clarity of presentation, from her exemplary introduction through nineteen sets of tables and four appendices (the first listing all Norse-derived terms attested in Old English texts, the second, of 67 pages, Old English texts recording Norse-derived terms). This volume is a solid contribution to the study of cultural contact between English and Norse speakers during the long Viking Age.

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Urbanski Charity, Writing history for the king: Henry II and the politics of vernacular historiography

Urbanski Charity, Writing history for the king: Henry II and the politics of vernacular historiography, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 2013, 272 p. ISBN: 9780801451317

Compte rendu par/Review by : John Spence

The Medieval Review

Date : 7 Sep 2014

This book contributes to the growing body of scholarship exploring the agendas and approaches of those innovative twelfth-century vernacular chroniclers who wrote compelling histories in Old French that offered persuasive lessons for their contemporary readers. Charity Urbanksi’s aim here is to understand how two such works, Wace’s Roman de Rou and Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Chronique des ducs de Normandie, took up this challenge with the added spur that their patron (and possibly their most demanding reader) was Henry II himself, seeking an account of his Norman ancestors. The central proposition of the book is that Wace chose not to satisfy the requirements of a royal commission to recount the king’s family history in a manner which suited Henry’s needs (given the challenges of his rise to power and his reign), whereas Benoît (as Wace’s successor in the role) cleaved closely to a partisan, celebratory approach. In broad outline, this will be familiar to those already acquainted with recent scholarship on Wace and Benoît, such as the work of Elisabeth van Houts, Francoise Le Saux and Jean Blacker, but the argument has been fleshed out in considerable detail by Urbanski.

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Pierre Michel (éd.), Naissance de la Normandie. 911, le traité de Saint-Clair-sur-Epte

Pierre Michel (éd.), Naissance de la Normandie. 911, le traité de Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, Paris, SPM, 2013, 166 p. ISBN: 9782901952978

Compte rendu par/Review by : Noëlle Cherrier-Lévêque

La Cliothèque

Date : 5 Jul 2014

Par le célèbre traité de Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, le roi Charles le Simple accorda au chef scandinave Rollon la possession en toute propriété de terres de l’Epte jusqu’à la mer, ce qui deviendra la Normandie. Rollon obtint que ces domaines seraient transmis à ses héritiers, une terre à piller vers la Bretagne, et la promesse d’un mariage avec la fille de Charles le Simple. Ils scellèrent la transaction en concluant un pacte d’amitié. Rollon reçoit le baptême et s’engage à servir militairement le roi. Ces détails nous ont été transmis par le moine picard Dudon de Saint-Quentin, invité par le duc Richard II en 994, plus de quatre vingts ans après l’événement, à rédiger une histoire des ducs de Normandie destinée à célébrer les mérites de sa lignée. Le deuxième livre de cette histoire est la principale source de ce qu’on connaît de Rollon. Cinq de ses chapitres sont consacrés à ce traité et aux circonstances de sa rédaction.

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Bauduin Pierre, Musin Alexander (dir.), Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident

Bauduin Pierre, Musin Alexander (dir.), Vers l’Orient et vers l’Occident. Regards croisés sur les dynamiques et les transferts culturels des Vikings à la Rous ancienne, Caen, Publications du CRAHAM, 2014, 500 p. ISBN: 9782841334995

Compte rendu par/Review by : Yann Coz

La Cliothèque

Date : 22 Nov 2014

Fruit d’un programme de collaboration entre universitaires français et russes, cet ouvrage vise à faire le point sur les recherches menées ces dernières décennies et sur les nouvelles interprétations du passé normand en Normandie et en Rous ancienne, avec en complément des aperçus sur les îles britanniques et sur le monde scandinave. Sans rentrer dans le détail des contributions (rédigées en français et anglais), majoritairement archéologiques, on mettra l’accent ici sur quelques lignes de force et sur la remise en cause de certitudes bien ancrées sur le mouvement de colonisation qui affecte diverses régions d’Europe entre le VIIIe et la première moitié du XIe siècle.

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Gunnell Terry, Lassen Annette (dir.), The Nordic apocalypse: approaches to Völuspá and Nordic Days of Judgement

Gunnell Terry, Lassen Annette (dir.), The Nordic apocalypse: approaches to Völuspá and Nordic Days of Judgement, Turnhout, Brepols (Acta Scandinavica, vol. 2), 2013, XVIII-240 p. ISBN: 978-2-503-54182-2

Compte rendu par/Review by : Kevin J. Wanner

The Medieval Review

Date : 29 Sep 2014

The Nordic Apocalypse is an essay collection that, quoting Pétur Pétursson’s Introduction, « is designed to offer…insight into the ‘state of the art’ of Völuspá discussion at the start of the twenty-first century, » and which « has its roots in…papers given at a two-day conference held at…the National Museum of Iceland…[in] May 2008 » (xiv). It was the organizers’ hope that « focusing a symposium on a single Eddic poem rather than a wider genre might be a fruitful step forward in the field of Eddic studies » (xiv), thus suggesting that this volume supplements or improves on earlier collections that have considered either the subset of « mythological » or « heroic » eddic poems. Given that Völuspá is the most famous and studied of the eddic poems–anonymous, vernacular compositions that focus on gods and legendary heroes, and that are largely narrative, didactic, and/or dialogic in form–it is doubtlessly the member of this genre best poised to generate the interest needed to fuel a conference and essay collection. While individual eddic poems cannot be dated precisely, they are generally regarded as products of the ninth through thirteenth centuries, which means that as a group and in some cases as single works they bridge the pre-Christian and Christian eras. Völuspá has for a long while been dated to around the year 1000, the approximate date of Iceland’s conversion, though this estimation (or its significance) is challenged by some of this volume’s contributors. It is the first poem in the principal manuscript of eddic poetry, the Codex Regius or Konungsbók, which was compiled in Iceland ca. 1270. Two other Icelandic sources for Völuspá are Snorri Sturluson’s Edda, a guide to poetry and myth produced probably in the 1220s that quotes close to half of its stanzas, and the fourteenth-century Hauksbók, which contains a version with significant differences from that of the Codex Regius. In terms of content, Völuspá, or the « Prophecy (spá) of the Seeress (völva), » offers a synopsis, if one that is patchy and allusive, of the span of Norse mythic history, from the shaping of the present world to its cataclysmic end, and on into the emergence of a new one.

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Gregory Rebecca, The minor and field-names of Thurgarton Wapentake, Nottinghamshire

Gregory Rebecca, The minor and field-names of Thurgarton Wapentake, Nottinghamshire, (dir. P. Cavill, J. Baker, University of Nottingham)

En cours depuis 2013/In preparation since 2013

Résumé/abstract :

My project involves collection and anaysis of minor names in Thurgarton Wapentake. I hope to be able to analyse these names in order to glean information about a number of different areas of interest including: the dialect of Nottinghamshire and naming elements specific to the region; the languages spoken in the area, with an emphasis on Scandinavian-infuenced vocabulary and pronunciation; land-use; and the process of enclosure and its effect on naming. My initial sources of data have been the Tithe and Enclosure Awards from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However, I will also be making use of maps and documents from both earlier and later periods.

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Matveeva Elizaveta, Reconsidering the tradition: the Odinic hero as saga-protagonist

Matveeva Elizaveta, Reconsidering the tradition: the Odinic hero as saga-protagonist, (dir. J. Jesch, University of Nottingham)

En cours depuis ?/In preparation since ?

Résumé/abstract :

My project centres upon the representation of late Icelandic saga characters that are connected with Odinic motifs, and are usually based upon an earlier tradition of depicting a mortal hero consecrated to Óðinn. The major examples of such characters include Sigmundr, Sinfjötli and Sigurðr of Völsunga saga that goes back to Eddic poetry, and the eponymous kings and their champions in Hrólfs saga kraka and Halfs saga ok Halfsrekka. The aim of my thesis is to look at the perception and interpretation of these traditional storylines and their pagan theme in saga narrative of the Christian era, from both literary-critical and historical points of view.

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Rye Eleanor, Dialect in the Viking-Age Scandinavian diaspora

Rye Eleanor, Dialect in the Viking-Age Scandinavian diaspora: the evidence of medieval minor names, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2016 (University of Nottingham)

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Van Renterghem Aya, Runica Manuscripta

Van Renterghem Aya, Runica Manuscripta, (dir. J. Jesch, University of Nottingham)

En cours depuis 2014/In preparation since 2014

Résumé/abstract :

My research investigates the perception of runes and the runic alphabet by medieval scribes by examining their use of the script in manuscripts and the practice of copying manuscript runes between the ninth and the twelfth century. I include both Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon runes, analysing their appearance and possible connections in insular and continental manuscripts. I am interested in the runes within and outwith their respective traditions. I will therefore take a detailed look at the transition from epigraphical to manuscript runes, the spread of the runica manuscripta tradition, and the significance of finding both types of runes in the same manuscripts. With this study I hope to determine how runic material was perceived, why the medieval scribe or scholar felt the need to use a relatively uncommon or even archaic alphabet, and how this affects the idea of runic literacy.

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