Medial perspectives on textual culture in the Icelandic Middle Ages

With editorial assistance from Isabelle Ravizza

Medienwandel – Medienwechsel – Medienwissen (ISSN 2504-1045), Band 29
2018. 328 Seiten
ISBN 978-3-0340-1029-0
CHF 48.00 / EUR 48.00 
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Among the texts examined are Sturlunga saga, a narrative cycle depicting the bitter feuding preceding Iceland’s loss of independence in 1262/4; Hauksbók or «Haukr’s Book», a manuscript «micro-library», containing among other things a history of the Christianisation of Iceland, narratives about legendary Vikings, the story of Troy, and computistical material; Víglundar saga, an exemplary romance in saga form; grammatical treatises in which native poetry is analysed in terms of classical rhetoric; and a tiny sixteenth-century manuscript of the vita of St Margaret, written as an amulet for the scribe’s pregnant daughter. Showcasing medially-focused responses to a wide range of medieval writing and textuality, the collection demonstrates the promise of a medial approach to Iceland’s extraordinarily rich and long-lived textual culture.

is a post-doctoral research fellow on the project «Mediality: Historical Perspectives» at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Her main research interests are in medieval Scandinavian literature and culture, and media studies.

Aufsätze im Chronos Verlag

is Professor for Nordic Philology at the Scandinavian Studies Department of the University of Basel and at the German Department of the University of Zurich. His main research interests are in Scandinavian medieval and early modern literatures and in Icelandic literature.

Aufsätze im Chronos Verlag

  • Introduction: Medial perspectives on textual culture in the Icelandic Middle Ages
    S. 9–62
  • Talking heads: The mediality of Mímir
    S. 63–84
  • Looking ahead to what is long past: the mediality of Jóreiðr’s dreaming in Sturlunga saga
    S. 85–108
  • To what degree did written texts change oral performance?
    S. 109–120
  • Compilations, collections and composite manuscripts

    Some notes on the manuscript Hauksbók

    S. 121–142
  • The terminology of reading and writing in Sturlunga saga
    S. 143–164
  • The written legacy of the Sturlung age – Reflections on a media change
    S. 165–180
  • Saints and sinners. Aspects of the production and use of manuscripts in Iceland 1300–1600
    S. 181–194
  • The speed of the scribes: how fast could Flateyjarbók have been written?
    S. 195–226
  • The Fourth Grammatical Treatise as medial poetics
    S. 227–242
  • Virtues and vices: The Fourth Grammatical Treatise
    S. 243–264
  • Conspicuous mediality in a medieval poem: the case of Merlínússpá
    S. 265–284
  • Njáls saga and its listeners’ assumed knowledge: applying notions of mediality to a medieval text
    S. 285–294
  • Islendingasaga – couple romance – exemplum: Víglundar saga and the mediality of the söguöld
    S. 295–325


«The lengthy and detailed introduction (pp. 9–59), co-authored by the two editors, lays out the theoretical approach that serves as a backdrop for the thirteen articles contained in the volume. [...] The quality of the present volume is quite uneven. The introduction by Heslop and Glauser is informative and clearly structured, and the concrete examples used to illustrate the theoretical approach of mediality are particularly well chosen and thoughtful. Some of the articles by the contributors are of high quality and constitute original contributions to the area of Old Norse-Icelandic Studies.»

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October 2020, Kari Ellen Gade

Diese Buchreihe vereinigt Studien des gleichnamigen Nationalen Forschungsschwerpunkts sowie mediengeschichtliche Arbeiten. Sie rückt die Zeit vor der Ausbreitung der Massenmedien und insbesondere die medialen Verhältnisse der Vormoderne ins Zentrum. Damit ermöglicht sie Einblicke in die Andersartigkeit älterer Kommunikationsformen und erlaubt es gleichzeitig, Voraussetzungen für die mediale Formierung der Neuzeit zu ergründen.