SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 5: Tellers and their Tales

MWF 8-9 , Dwinelle 246. Instructor: Sarah Eriksen

Units: 4

An ancient prophetess recounts visions for Odin from creation to Ragnarok. A humorless merchant forces an old sailor’s legend to “come true.” A heartless seducer traps his young prey with paper and pen. Neighbors swap anecdotes of elves, trolls, and things that go bump in the night. What happens when a storyteller becomes visible in a tale, why does it affect meaning in literature, and how do we experience it as readers? This course explores how exchanges between “tellers” and their audiences unfold across the page and in the mind. Students will be encouraged to think about story as a performance between a text and a reader.

This course will cover Nordic texts of diverse styles and genres from medieval to modern, folding in relevant concepts from literary, cognitive, cultural, and anthropological studies to build a toolbox of reading and analytical strategies. Class discussions and exercises will guide students on improving their argumentation, structure, analysis, and editing practices, and students will further hone these skills through writing assignments. Weekly workshops, including a class trip to the library, will introduce standards of composition and research.

All texts and course materials are in English. No prior knowledge of the Nordic world is necessary for this class.


Course reader (available at Copy Central)

This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.