A comprehensive guide to a crucial aspect of Old Norse literature.
We cannot read literary works without making use of the concept of genre. In Old Norse studies, genre has been central to the categorisation, evaluation and understanding of medieval prose and poetry alike; yet its definition has been elusive and its implications often left unexplored.
This volume opens up fundamental questions about Old Norse genre in theory and in practice. It offers an extensive range of theoretical approaches, investigating and critiquing current terms and situating its arguments within early Scandinavian and Icelandic oral-literary and manuscript contexts. It maps the ways in which genre and form engage with key thematic areas within the literary corpus, noting the different kinds of impact upon the genre system brought about by conversion to Christianity, the gradual adoption of European literary models, and social and cultural changes occurring in Scandinavian society. A case-study section probes both prototypical and hard-to-define cases, demonstrating the challenges that actual texts pose to genre theory in terms of hybridity, evolution and innovation. With an annotated taxonomy of Old Norse genres and an extensive bibliography, it is an indispensable resource for contemporary Old Norse-Icelandic literary studies.
MASSIMILIANO BAMPI is Associate Professor of Germanic Philology at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice; CAROLYNE LARRINGTON is Professor of Medieval European Literature at Oxford University and Official Fellow in Medieval English Literature at St John’s College, Oxford; SIF RIKHARDSDOTTIR is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland and Vice-Chair of the Institute for Research in Literature and Visual Arts.
Contributors: Massimiliano Bampi, Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir, Jürg Glauser, Erin Goeres, Stefanie Gropper, Pernille Hermann, Dale Kedwards, Carolyne Larrington, Mikael Males, Hans Jacob Orning, Russell Poole, Judy Quinn, Sif Rikhar