Lavender Philip Thomas, Whatever Happened to Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra ? Origin, Transmission and Reception of a Fornaldarsaga, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2015, (Université de Copenhague)
Never heard of Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra? You’re not alone. Alongside the canon of world literary treasures there lies a shady world of forgotten and abandoned texts. The focus of my doctoral research has been the revindication of one such work, not simply because humanities research revels in the excavation of recondite relics of yesteryear, but also because behind every currently unpopular work there can lie a prehistory of untold entertainment and edification. Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra tells the story of a viking hero and his encounter with a lewd and troublesome trollwoman in the far north. It is found in 37 manuscript witnesses, but also in a number of other literary and textual formats. The relationships between these various formats – a passage from Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum, Faroese ballads, Swedish ‘Stormaktstiden’ academic interventions and post-medieval Icelandic rímur – will be adumbrated and their production contexts analyzed in an attempt to account for how past audiences interacted with this quirky saga. The result hopefully provides a partial blueprint for the salvaging of similar literary flotsam and jetsam.
[Source : http://humanities.ku.dk/calendar/2015/january/illuga_saga/]
Crockatt Ian, Poetry, accuracy and truth : translating the Old Norse skaldic verse of Ro̜gnvaldr Kali Kolsson, Earl of Orkney, 1135-1158, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (Université d’Aberdeen)
This thesis analyses my attempt to make engaging English language literary translations of complex Old Norse skaldic poetry, translations which convey significant elements of the form, sound patterns and referential reach of the originals. The primary focus is on the lausavísur (loose, or single verses) of Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Earl of Orkney from 1135 until 1158. It argues that translations of poetry should find equivalents not just for the semantic sense of the originals, but for the accumulated significance of all the factors that make it poetry. In developing this argument I suggest that the word ‘meaning’ when applied to poetry is reductive, and introduce a new terminology based on the terms ‘sense’, ‘contextual sense’, ‘significance’ and ‘accumulated significance’. Because the thesis is an amalgam of my work with both Creative Writing and Old Norse Studies, Old Norse terms and names are used whenever possible, reinforcing my understanding that translation is a meeting of two voices, personalities and cultures. The aim is to make visible, and audible, the voices drawn on and I therefore focus in Chapter three on my own poetic voice as well as Rǫgnvaldr’s. Chapter Two discusses the origins, structure and development of Old Norse verse, and analysis of the dróttkvætt [court poetry] verse-form is continued in greater detail in Chapter Four. There is also discussion in Chapter Four of kennings and of Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Chapter Five focuses on historical understandings of the theory and practice of translation. This includes a comparative analysis of translations of skaldic poetry into English from the eighteenth century to the present day, and culminates in the development of a classification of translation types as applied to skaldic poetry. Chapter Six considers the history of the translation of Rǫgnvaldr’s lausavísur, and analyses some of the assumptions and practice issues underlying my own translations of his work as set out in Chapter Seven.
[Source : http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=40&uin=uk.bl.ethos.635969]
Arley David Hugh, The whirling wheel: the male construction of empowered female identities in Old Norse myth and legend, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2015, (Université de Durham)
This thesis examines the body of medieval literature associated with Old Norse myth and legend. Though this is a diffuse corpus produced over a long span of time and from a wide geographical area, it is possible to establish connections between texts and to highlight certain recurring narrative patterns that are deeply entrenched in this literary tradition. The specific focus of the present study is to analyse the narrative patterns that characterise the interactions between male and female figures.
It has long been understood that female figures tend to occupy carefully defined social roles in this body of literature, and much work has been done in assessing these. This thesis takes the unique approach of investigating whether these roles can be viewed, not as a product of the mentality of the writers of this literary material, but rather as a product of male characters within the literary narratives themselves. The investigation poses the question of whether men can be seen, through their words, thoughts, and actions, to be responsible for creating female identities. Intimately connected to the concept of identity creation is the idea of power: this thesis will argue that most male attempts to redefine female identity is motivated by a desire to acquire, control, negate, or otherwise alter, the powers possessed by females. Quite often, because fallible males demonstrate an imperfect understanding of female power, there can be a marked disparity between the abilities certain women are thought to possess, and those they actually do. The thesis will examine a large selection of supernatural female figures, across a broad range of literature, ultimately to suggest that the male creation of female power is deeply entrenched in narrative patterns observable in many different contexts.
[Source : http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/11057/]
Duncan Dale Roderick Thomas, Berserkir : a re-examination of the phenomenon in literature and life, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. J. Jesch, Université de Nottingham)
This thesis discusses whether berserkir really went berserk. It proposes revised paradigms for berserkir as they existed in the Viking Age and as depicted in Old Norse literature. It clarifies the Viking Age berserkr as an elite warrior whose practices have a function in warfare and ritual life rather than as an example of aberrant behaviour, and considers how usage of PDE ‘berserk’ may affect the framing of research questions about berserkir through analysis of depictions in modern popular culture. The analysis shows how berserksgangr has received greater attention than it warrants with the emphasis being on how berserkir went berserk. A critical review of Old Norse literature shows that berserkir do not go berserk, and suggests that berserksgangr was a calculated form of posturing and a ritual activity designed to bolster the courage of the berserkr.
It shows how the medieval concept of berserkir was more nuanced and less negative than is usually believed, as demonstrated by the contemporaneous existence in narratives of berserkir as king’s men, hall challengers, hólmgöngumenn, Viking raiders and Christian champions, and by the presence of men with the byname berserkr in fourteenth-century documents. Old Norse literature is related to pre-Viking Age evidence to show that warriors wearing wolfskins existed and can be related to berserkir, thus making it possible to produce models for Viking Age and medieval concepts of berserkir.
The modern view of berserkir is analysed and shows that frenzy is the dominant attribute, despite going berserk not being a useful attribute in Viking Age warfare which relied upon men holding a line steady rather than charging individually.
The thesis concludes that ON berserkr may be best translated as PDE ‘champion’, while PDE ‘berserker’ describes the type of uncontrollable warrior most commonly envisaged when discussing berserkir.
[Source : http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/28819/]
Stahl Pierre-Brice, Étude sur le Vafþrúðnismál et le genre de l’énigme, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. Jean-Marie Husser, Université de Strasbourg)
Le poème Vafþrúðnismál présente la rencontre entre deux figures mythologiques, Vafþrúðnir et Óðinn, qui s’affrontent dans une joute verbale. Une lecture attentive du texte conduit à la conclusion que le dieu, dans les questions qu’il adresse au géant. L’analyse de la nature de l’interaction apporte ainsi une nouvelle compréhension du texte et permet d’expliquer plusieurs aspects du poème, jugés jusqu’à présent problématiques. L’étude montre qu’il n’y a aucune injustice dans la distribution des questions ou dans la dernière énigme, comme on l’a traditionnellement interprété, mais que tous deux répondent à une logique bien précise du texte. A travers cette fiction littéraire, le poème transmet sous une forme ludique un savoir traditionnel au moyen d’un genre particulier : la joute d’énigmes.
The poem Vafþrúðnismál presents the meeting of two mythological figures, Vafþrúðnir and Óðinn, who compete in a verbal duel. A close study of the text leads to the conclusion that the god is not seeking any knowledge with his questions to the giant. Therefore, the analysis of the nature of the interaction provides a new understanding of the poem and explains several aspects that have, until now, been perceived as problematic. This study shows that there is no injustice regarding the distribution of questions between the two protagonists, but that this follows a specific logic in the text. In the same way, the analysis of the final riddle reveals that it is not ‘unfair’, as it has traditionally been interpreted, but that it has a precise function in the text. Through this literary fiction, Vafþrúðnismál transmits – in a playful way – traditional knowledge, by means of a specific genre: riddling.
[Source : http://theses.unistra.fr/ori-oai-search/notice.html?id=2014STRAG038&printable=true]
Worth Liliana, « Exile-and-return » in medieval vernacular texts of England and Spain 1170-1250, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2015, (dir. L. Ashe, G. Hazbun, D. Hook, Université d’Oxford)
The motif of ‘exile-and-return’ is found in works from a wide range of periods and linguistic traditions. The standard narrative pattern depicts the return of wrongfully exiled heroes or peoples to their former abode or their establishment of a superior home, which signals a restoration of order. The appeal of the pattern lies in its association with undue loss, rightful recovery and the universal vindication of the protagonist. Though by no means confined to any one period or region, the particular narrative pattern of the exile-and-return motif is prevalent in vernacular texts of England and Spain around 1170–1250. This is the subject of the thesis. The following research engages with scholarship on Anglo-Norman romances and their characteristic use of exile-and-return that sets them apart from continental French romances, by highlighting the widespread employment of this narrative pattern in Spanish poetic works during the same period. The prevalence of the pattern in both literatures is linked to analogous interaction with continental French works, the relationship between the texts and their political contexts, and a common responses to wider ecclesiastical reforms. A broader aim is to draw attention to further, unacknowledged similarities between contemporary texts from these different linguistic traditions, as failure to take into account the wider, multilingual literary contexts of this period leads to incomplete arguments. The methodology is grounded in close reading of four main texts selected for their exemplarity, with some consideration of the historical context and contemporary intertexts : the Romance of Horn, the Cantar de mio Cid, Gui de Warewic and the Poema de Fernán González. A range of intertexts are considered alongside in order to elucidate the particular concerns and distinctive use of exile-and-return in the main works.
[Source : http://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:a736407a-4f69-46f2-98bb-992b1fb669eb]
Kynan-Wilson William, Rome and romanitas in Anglo-Norman text and image (circa 1100 – circa 1250), Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013, (Université de Cambridge)
Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available.
[Source : http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.607802]
Triquet Ismérie, Les manuscrits enluminés de la Grande Chronique de Normandie aux XIVe et XVe siècles, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. B. Boerner, D. Hüe, Université de Rennes 2)
A la fin du Moyen Age l’historiographie normande connaît un nouvel essor par la rédaction dans la seconde moitié du XIVe siècle de la Grande Chronique de Normandie. Le texte relate l’histoire du duché de Normandie et du monde anglo-Normand entre 911 et 1204. En 911 le chef viking Rollon recevait du roi de France Charles le Simple le territoire de Neustrie contre promesse de défendre ses frontières et de se convertir au catholicisme. Les Normands feront croître leur territoire au-Delà des limites de la Manche, initiant ainsi une nouvelle dynastie royale en Angleterre. La Normandie sera rattachée en 1204 à la couronne française de Philippe Auguste. Tardivement mis en image au XVe siècle, le texte sera illustré de scènes typologiques, traditionnellement utilisées dans les chroniques médiévales. Puis, se développerons des images plus complexes et narratives. Le but étant toujours la mise en exergue de la dynastie anglo-Normande. Produits durant ou juste après la guerre de Cent Ans, les manuscrits s’inscrivent dans un contexte tout à fait singulier. L’histoire normande sera utilisée à des fins politiques pour servir les prétentions des belligérants ou pour éduquer le lectorat médiéval. Largement diffusée dans le nord de la France l’illustration des manuscrits a permis la mise en place d’une tradition iconographique relative à la dynastie anglo-Normande dans trois grands centres artistiques : la Normandie, Paris et les Flandres. Enfin, le texte sera remanié et continué afin de poursuivre l’histoire normande jusqu’aux temps présents de la production. La Grande Chronique de Normandie a survécu à l’apparition de l’imprimerie tout en perdant toutefois sa récente tradition iconographique.
In the late Middle Ages, the writing of the GCN gave to the norman historiography a new growth in the second half of the 14th century. The text dealt with the history of the duchy of Normandy and the anglo-Norman world from 911 to 1204. In 911, the Viking chief Rollo received the territory of Neustrie from Charles the Simple, king of France, in exchange of the promise to defend the border and to become catholic. The Normans increased there territory over the Channel, thus they started a new dynasty in England. The Normandy has been attached to the french crown under the reign of Philippe Auguste. At a late stage, the text of the GCN has been illuminated with typologic scenes, traditionally used in medieval chronicles. Moreover, images became more and more complicated and narrative as well, whose purpose was still the highlighting of the anglo-Norman dynasty. The context of the making of the manuscripts is very specific in so far as they have been made during or shortly after the One Hundred Year War. The norman history will be used for the political interest of the belligerents as well as to educate the medieval readership. Widely spread in Northern France, the illuminated manuscripts permitted the settlement of an iconographic tradition related to the anglo-Norman dynasty in three great artistic centres : the Normandy, Paris and Flanders. Finally, the text has been changed and increased in order to go on the norman history till now. The GCN managed to go through the period of printing, therefore it lost its new iconography recently gained.
[Source : http://www.theses.fr/2014REN20032]
The twelfth-century La vie d’Edouard le Confesseur written in Anglo-Norman verse by a Nun of Barking Abbey is an important hagiographical work that has attracted growing scholarly attention in recent years.  Jane Bliss here presents the first translation of La vie into modern English. Scholarly interest in this text has largely focused on its significance as the work of a female author from one of the most influential and important abbeys in post-conquest England. Bliss’s translation should serve to make this Life–one of a very small number of Anglo-Norman hagiographies composed by a woman–available to a wider audience, including students, who have no Old French. Although clearly a work of hagiography, La vie also sheds valuable light on Edward’s times and on the Nun’s own twelfth-century context. Bliss contends that this version of Edward’s life « can claim to be historical biography » (4). In contrast, in his standard work on Edward, Frank Barlow writes that « the hagiographical tradition [derived from Osbert of Clare via Aelred of Rievaulx] can be disregarded as an historical source for Edward’s earthly career. »  One of Bliss’s main arguments in presenting this translation of La vie is that this work develops that hagiographical tradition in new, independent, and even historically illuminating ways.
Continuer la lecture de Bliss, Jane, trans. La Vie d’Edouard le Confesseur, by a Nun of Barking Abbey
Bisson Marie, Dom Thomas Le Roy, Les curieuses recherches du Mont Sainct Michel, édition numérique structurée à l’aide de la Text Encoding Initiative : établissement critique du texte, recherches sur les sources, introduction littéraire et historique (dir. C. Jacquemard et co-dir. V. Gazeau, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie).
En cours depuis 2008 /In preparation since 2008
L’objectif de cette thèse est d’établir une édition critique des enquêtes de Dom Le Roy sur l’histoire du Mont Saint-Michel : Les Curieuses recherches du Mont sainct Michel. Au XVIIe siècle, ce moine mauriste, a écrit conjointement plusieurs versions de son œuvre et Eugène de Robillard de Beaurepaire en a fait une première édition scientifique au XIXe siècle mais il s’est appuyé essentiellement sur un manuscrit principal et en a même occulté certains passages.
Notre travail sera de proposer une édition critique des quatre versions du texte de dom Le Roy que nous possédons : un manuscrit principal (Caen, fonds Mancel n°195) ; une version abrégée manuscrite (Bibliothèque de Cherbourg n°65) ; une brève histoire de l’abbaye du Mont Saint Michel attribuée à Dom Leroy (fonds latin de la Bnf n° 13818.) ; une copie de 228 pages (fonds français de la Bnf n° 18950.) , de les comparer et de retrouver les sources sur lesquelles l’historien mauriste s’était lui-même appuyé.
La forme idéale pour une édition aussi complexe est certainement la forme électronique qui fera ainsi apparaître l’autorité de chaque partie de texte et permettra de confronter les différentes versions de dom Le Roy entre elles mais aussi d’analyser le travail de Beaurepaire. L’édition numérique se fera en langage XML (eXtensible Markup Language ) à l’aide de la Tei (Text Encoding Language ) qui est l’ensemble de recommandations actuellement expérimenté avec le plus de succès, dans le domaine des sciences humaines et sociales, pour décrire le contenu et la structure des documents écrits.
[source : http://w3.unicaen.fr/ufr/histoire/craham/spip.php?article384]
History Books in the Anglo-Norman World c.1100-c.1300
Responsable du projet/Project leader :
Laura Cleaver (email@example.com)
Établissement principal/Main institution :
Trinity College Dublin
Projet en cours/Project in progress
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries history (interpreted as both the recent past and a period stretching back to include the biblical narrative) seems to have become a major interest for both the educated elite and a growing audience who accessed ideas through vernacular texts. New chronicles and annals were produced, together with accounts of the histories of particular peoples, nations and subjects. At the same time, history was explored through images in books and other media. Much historical writing in this period dealt with issues of conquest and identity, which were often allied to geography, ethnicity or particular institutions. The ‘History Books’ project, funded by the Marie Curie Programme (FP7), will examine surviving medieval manuscripts in order to investigate the writing of history in areas controlled by the Anglo-Norman Empire, concentrating on the period 1100-1300. In particular the project will explore the use of images in the presentation of history in books and beyond.
[Lien/Link : https://www.tcd.ie/History_of_Art/research/history-books.php]
Interpreting Eddic Poetry Project
Responsables du projet/Project leaders :
Carolyne Larrington (firstname.lastname@example.org), Judy Quinn (email@example.com)
Établissements principaux/Main institutions :
University of Oxford, University of Cambridge
Projet en cours/Project in progress
Old Norse-Icelandic medieval literature is, alongside medieval French literature, the richest corpus of vernacular texts preserved from 850-1450. It incorporates an extraordinary range of genres, from early, oral poetry of praise and mourning to later indigenous prose romances making creative use of native and European narrative motifs. It also includes the unparalleled prose narratives of the sagas (many of which contain extensive quotations of poetry), contemporary histories and chronicles, poetry manuals and learned encyclopedic works, as well as a varied body of translated and native religious texts. Mediating insights into early Germanic and Scandinavian history, mythology, legend and society, and above all, crucial in reconstructing pre- and post-Conversion mentalités, the Norse literary heritage is becoming increasingly important in the study of medieval Europe.
The focus of this major new international research project is the unique genre of eddic poetry, a substantial body of literature preserved in a variety of disparate contexts. One major anthology survives, as well as single poems within compilation manuscripts and scattered quotations within treatises and a large number of sagas. The primary objectives of the ‘Interpreting Eddic Poetry’ Project are the redefinition of the extent and scope of this corpus and the reassessment of its significance in the light of recent advances in interdisciplinary research into different aspects of the culture of medieval Europe.
[Lien/Link : http://www.sjc.ox.ac.uk/6447/Interpreting-Eddic-Poetry.html]
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.
Continue la lecture →
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.
Continue la lecture →
Matveeva Elizaveta, Reconsidering the tradition: the Odinic hero as saga-protagonist, (dir. J. Jesch, University of Nottingham)
En cours depuis ?/In preparation since ?
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.
[Source : http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/csva/research/doctoral-research.aspx]