Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Old Norse Literature and Culture

  • ECTS credits15
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeNOFI107
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageNorwegian. Danish, Swedish and English may also be used to a certain extent.
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The aim of this course is to expand the students' knowledge of Old Norse literature and culture by studying a broad selection of texts. In addition to this, it is expected that the students should familiarize themselves with the history of Old Norse research.

The syllabus consists of a broad selection of texts, mainly in translation but also in the original.

Learning Outcomes


After successfully completing this course, students will have:

- Knowledge of the main characteristics of Old Norse literature.

- Good knowledge of central texts in a number of Old Norse genres.

- Basic knowledge of the history of Old Norse research.


- The ability to comment on and analyse a selection of Old Norse texts.

- The ability to place these texts in a literary-historical perspective.

- The ability to read a selection of these texts in their original language.

- The ability to place the history of Old Norse literary studies within the history of the discipline.

General Competence

- The ability to understand the literary structures of different genres.

- The ability to relate the canon of Old Norse literature to other literatures.

- The ability to both compare and contrast the history of Old Norse research in relation to the development of other disciplines.

Required Previous Knowledge


Students must have a good knowledge of the Norwegian language.

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

NOFI107 overlaps almost completely with the previously taught course NOFI105, and no credits will be awarded for NOFI107 to students who have taken NOFI105.

Access to the Course

The course is open to all students with the right to study at UiB.

Teaching and learning methods


The teaching is planned with the intention that the students participate actively, and it is therefore expected that they carry out the assignments (written and/or oral) that will be set as a part of the teaching.

If less than five students are registered for a course, the department might reduce the teaching, please see the department¿s guidelines regarding this on ¿Mitt UiB¿. Regarding a course where this is a possibility, the students will get information about this at the beginning of the semester, and before the deadline concerning semester registration 1st February/1st September.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

1) Obligatory attendance at least 75% of the scheduled lectures.

2) The students must give a short presentation (10 - 15 minutes) on one of the course topics. The topic is selected in agreement with the lecturer, whom also approves the presentation.

The compulsory requirements are valid for the given semester and the following semester.

Forms of Assessment

Take-home examination and an adjusting oral examination.

The take-home examination consists of a topic chosen by the lecturer and lasts for 7 days. The expected length of the take-home examination essay will be 8-12 pages (16 000-24 000 characters incl. spaces), not counting the list of works cited and appendices.

The adjusting oral examination will be an examination encompassing both the topic of the take-home examination and the syllabus of the course. The oral examination can adjust the grade of the take-home examination by one grade, either up or down.

It is permitted to speak Norwegian, Danish, Swedish or English during the oral examination. It will be taken into consideration that international students might need extra time in order to formulate their answers fully. No examination support material is permitted in the oral examination.

If the student does not hand in or fails the take-home examination, he or she will not be permitted to take the oral examination.

Grading Scale

Grade scale A-F.

Reading List


A. Primary Texts

A selection of texts that will be read in translated versions: e.g. a Saga of Icelanders, a Contemporary Saga, a Legendary Saga, a Saga of Saints, a Saga of Bishops, an Apocryphal Saga, and a Chivalric Sagas. Additional excerpts from Strengleikar (50 pages), Konungs skuggsjá (50 pages) and one or more law texts (100 pages).

A selection of approx. 50 pages will be read in their original language.

B. Secondary Texts

1. A selection of articles or chapters that relate to the literary and cultural topics of the course, which serve to both give a general overview and to support the individual texts in the pensum. Approx. 250 pages

2. A broad introduction to the history of the discipline of Old Norse, e.g. Ludvig Holm-Olsen, Lys over norrøn kultur, Oslo: Cappelen (1981).

The department will announce the complete syllabus. There is the opportunity to change parts of the literature on the syllabus in consultation with the lecturer. In this case, the candidate must contact the course lecturer as soon as possible, and hand in and have the syllabus list approved within the advertised deadline.

Course Evaluation

Evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.


Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.

E-mail: advice@lle.uib.no

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Take-home examination and adjusting oral examination

    • Exam part: Take-home examination

      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Adjusting oral examination