SCANDINAVIAN 125: Old Norse Literature

MWF 12-1 , 105 Dwinelle. Instructor: Kate Heslop

Units: 4

This course is an introduction to the sagas, the most famous literary genre of medieval Scandinavia. While the course will emphasize reading, understanding, discussing and writing about the literature of this period, we will also learn about the roots of Scandinavian literature in the Viking Age, and about its material, historical and cultural contexts. Readings will include Egil’s saga, Hrafnkel’s saga, The Vinland sagas, The saga of the Volsungs, and selections from Heimskringla, The Book of Settlements, The Book of the Icelanders and the Prose Edda.

Margaret Clunies Ross, The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga. Cambridge. ISBN 978-0521735209. Required.

The Sagas of Icelanders with a preface by Jane Smiley. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition. ISBN 978-0141000039. Required.

Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla Volume I: The Beginnings to Óláfr Tryggvason, tr. Alison Finlay and Anthony Faulkes. Viking Society. ISBN: 978-0-903521-86-4. Required.

Saga of the Volsungs, tr. Jesse L. Byock. Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0140447385. Required.

Course reader. Required.

Prerequisites: None. Readings are in English.

Course load: Short in-class presentation, midterm test, term paper (5-6 pages, doublespaced), final exam.