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The 11th Bergen International Postgraduate Symposium in Old Norse Studies 2017

The symposium for postgraduate students of Old Norse is hosted annually by the University of Bergen. Initiated by Professor Else Mundal under the auspices of the Centre for Medieval Studies, it is now organized by the Old Norse section of the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.

group photo
Participants of the 10th Bergen-UK Old Norse Postgraduate Symposium 2016


Each year MA and PhD students are invited from Bergen and several UK universities to present their research to their peers, gaining feedback, experience in writing papers and public speaking and getting the opportunity to meet students at the equivalent academic stage.

In 2017, we are pleased to invite student speakers from Bergen, Cambridge, Durham, Nottingham, Oxford, and Reykjavík.

The programme will take place on the 3rd to the 5th of April at the University of Bergen. The location for all three days is Jekteviksbakken 31 (Jus II), Auditorium 145.


All are welcome to listen to the papers and participate in the discussion.

Monday 3rd April

09.00-09.15: Welcome address by Margereth Hagen, dean of the Faculty of Humanities

Session One: Sagas of Icelanders I – Literary and Societal Contexts
Chair: Judy Quinn
09.15-09.45: Anne Sheffield (Durham): Mocking the Hero? Audience, Expectations, and Humour in Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu
09.45-10.15: Kimberly Anderson (Cambridge): Courting Disaster: the People and Practice of Law in Old Icelandic Family Sagas
10.15-10.45: Zuzana Stankovitsová (Bergen/Iceland): Króka-Refs saga in Time and Space
10.45-11.00: Short break.
11.00-13.00: Medieval city walk with Henning Laugerud and Jørgen Bakke.
13.00-14.30: Lunch.

Session Two: Sagas of Icelanders II – The Individual and the Community
Chair: David Ashurst
14.30-15.00: Brynja Þorgeirsdóttir (Cambridge): Literary Depictions of Body and Emotion in The Sagas of Icelanders
15.00-15.30: Alexander Wilson (Durham): Losing Control: Community and the Individual in Harðar saga
15.30-16.00: William Norman (Cambridge): Characterization by Omission: Irish Ancestry in Njáls saga Compared with Laxdæla saga
16.00-16.30: Coffee break.

Session Three: Sagas of Ancient Times – Scandinavian Origins
Chair: Helen F. Leslie-Jacobsen
16.30-17.00: Katherine Olley (Cambridge): ‘The Bond Crack’d’: Narratives of Paternal and Filial Ambivalence in the Hrafnistumannasögur
17.00-17.30: Jonathan Hui (Cambridge): Gautland in the Gautasögur

19.00: Conference dinner (location tbc).


Tuesday 4th April

Session Four: Digital Humanities – Medieval Media
Chair: Odd Einar Haugen
09.00-09.30: Elisabeth Maria Magin (Nottingham/Bergen): Data Mining in the Middle Ages?
09.30-10.00: Juliane Tiemann (Bergen): Information Structure in Old Norwegian
10.00-10.30: Tea break.
10.30-11.10: Nina Stensaker (Bergen) and Robert K. Paulsen (Bergen): Emʀooɴ for All! Using and Contributing to a Linguistic Database of Old Norse Manuscripts
11.10-11.15: 5 minute break.

Session Five: Kings and the Court I – Courtly Literature
Chair: Jens Eike Schnall
11.15-11.45: Minjie Su (Oxford): A Wolfish Reflection: A Literary Reading of the Werewolf Episode in Konungs skuggsjá
11.45-12.15: William Brockbank (Oxford): Láta norrǽna or volsko male: Translating the Lais of Marie de France into the Strengleikar in the Court of King Hákon Hákonarson
12.15-13.45: Lunch.
13.45-14.45: Visit to Special Collections with Rune Kyrkjebø.
14.45-15.00: Back to conference venue.
15.00-15.30: Coffee break.

Session Six: Kings and the Court II – The Kings’ Sagas
Chair: Brittany Schorn
15.30-16.00: Lucie Hobson (Cambridge): Exploring Rituals of Succession in Hákonar saga Góða
16.00-16.30: Tom Morcom (Oxford): The Varangian King: Haraldr hardrádi and Empathy for the Icelander


Wednesday 5th April

Session Seven: European Contexts I – Classical and Continental
Chair: Else Mundal
09.00-09.30: James Parkhouse (Oxford): Classical Influence on Early Germanic Heroic Legend: Medea and the Nibelung Tradition
09.30-10.00: Caroline R. Batten (Oxford): ‘A Cure for the Harm of Another Poison’: The Poetics of the Old English Metrical Charms and their Old Norse Analogues
10.00-10.30: Florian Schreck (Bergen): Transcending the Facts: Mutating Monsters in Old Icelandic Romance
10.30-11.00: Tea break.

Session Eight: European Contexts II – Northern Heritage
Chair: Heather O’Donoghue
11.00-11.30: Tom Grant (Cambridge): Working With Words: The Poet as Smith in Skaldic Composition
11.30-12.00: Andrea Rocca (Bergen): Kennings, Naming and Circumlocutions
12.00-12.30: Thomas Spray (Durham): From the Fires of Askja: Grettis saga, Beowulf, and Conceptions of Northern Heritage
12.30-13.00: Michael Baker (Durham): Ragnars saga loðbrókar and the Rood: The Time of Talking Trémenn
13.00-14.15: Lunch
14.15-15.00: Visit to church portals at University Museum, with Henning Laugerud.
Afternoon to look round Bergen.