Denmark, Aarhus

The Medieval Saga Between History and Fiction

when 3 July 2013 - 18 July 2013
duration 3 weeks
credits 9.9 ECTS

Nowhere is the Viking Age more vividly described as in the Medieval sagas. Why was the past so important to medieval authors? What was meant to represent reality in medieval sagas and what was meant to be fictional? In what sense are monsters and trolls part of the Medieval world-view? What is the significance of geography and landscape in sagas? How much are sagas based on a coherent oral tradition from the Viking Age and how much on the saga authors’ own imagination? How can we use sagas as sources to the Viking Age as well as to the Middle ages? These questions and more will be central to the course which will focus on Old Norse Saga Literature across genres and disciplines. The nature of sagas as texts dealing with most aspects of the human society such as storytelling, war, law, religion, travel, history etc. demands an interdisciplinary approach. Consequently, the course teachers will be leading experts from disciplines such as literary studies, archeology, history and folklore, and they are all experienced in interdisciplinary research. The aim of the course is to provide students with a critical overview of the contemporary theories on Old Norse Sagas in various disciplines as well as basic tools to acquire insights in how these disciplines are fruitfully combined.

Course leader

Rolf Stavnem, Aarhus University

Target group

Bachelor/master students

Course aim

In the evaluation of exam performance, emphasis is placed on the extent to which the student:
• Is able to produce an independent, well-organised and coherent analysis of literary or non-literary linguistic practice or cultural or media expression
• Is able to communicate clearly and accurately at a high academic level
• Demonstrates sound understanding of different theoretical texts and the ability to combine and integrate different methods in analysing a topic

Fee info

EUR 0: Students on a bilateral exchange programme do not have to pay. Freemovers are obliged to pay participation fees while tuition fees only apply to freemovers from countries outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland.