Vikings, Monsters and Magic: The World of Fornaldarsögur

Onsdag 8. marts 2023
Kl. 17:00 - 18:30
Gratis entré
Arrangør: Fenrir - Foreningen for norrønt sprog og kultur
Bygning 1451, lokale 219, Aarhus Universitet
Jens Chr. Skous vej 3
8000 Aarhus C

Join us when Anna Solovyeva, PhD in Scandinavian Studies, visits Fenrir to tell us about the sagas!

Among the Icelandic sagas, several groups are traditionally distinguished, based on the subject matter of the texts, on the real or imagined geographical settings, on the period to which the narratives refer and the types of characters they deal with. Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda, or the “legendary sagas”, tell stories of Scandinavian and Germanic heroes of the times before Iceland was settled, including Sigurðr the Killer of Fáfnir, Ragnarr loðbrók, Starkaðr the Old, men from Hrafnista, and many others.

First told and written down in the Old Norse language, these sagas bear the traces of many different influences and many different layers of cultural memory. 31 texts, full of magic, monsters and wonderful adventures in mysterious lands, were first published together as one group by C.C. Rafn in 1829–30. Afterwards the existence of fornaldarsögur as a “genre” has seldom been questioned, as well as the list of texts included into Rafn’s edition.

Their literary merits and cultural significance have often been considered dubious throughout the most part of the 20th century, until the more recent decades brought a new wave of scholarly appreciation of the legendary sagas, as well as new high-quality translations into Danish, English, German, and other languages. At the same time, broad audiences have always been fascinated by the tales of great adventures and peculiar events told in these sagas, and many writers and artists have been inspired by them.

Whether you are familiar with the sagas or new to them – let us spend the evening with the stories of monsters and heroes, look at some key elements of the magical world (or is it many worlds?) of the legendary sagas, and appreciate the simultaneously cosmopolitan and uniquely Old Norse character of these texts.

The talk takes place at Aarhus University, but will also be live streamed. This talk will be in English.