|Title||Borders in Heroic Epics|
|Date/Time||Wednesday 6 July 2022: 09.00-10.30|
|Organiser||IMC Programming Committee|
|Moderator/Chair||Alaric Hall, Institute for Medieval Studies / School of English, University of Leeds|
|Paper 1038-a||'Ok þá kvað hann vísu' ('And then he spoke a verse'): Prosimetrum and the Borderline between Performance and Reception History in Old Norse Kings' Sagas
Ben Chennells, Centre for Scandinavian Studies, University College London
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian; Performance Arts - General
|Paper 1038-b||Disruption in Hárbarðsljóð
Manu Braithwaite-Westoby, Medieval & Early Modern Centre, University of Sydney
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian; Pagan Religions
The konungasǫgur ('kings' sagas'), describing the lives of Norwegian monarchs from legendary times up until 1177, are part of a broad corpus of Old Norse prosimetric literature. Within these narratives, verses are quoted alongside prose to corroborate historical events and/or as in-text impromptu performances. This paper focuses on verses of the latter type in Morkinskinna, a saga which has recently enjoyed attention for its representation of relations within courtly communities and yet less so for the role of poetic performance therein. Although the tendency in scholarship is to analyse the kings' sagas poetry and prose as separate entities, I contend that the borderline between the two forms is a more productive point of departure, allowing for consideration of the sagas as part of an ongoing history of reception of Old Norse poetry.
The poem Hárbarðsljóð reports that Þórr was returning from an excursion into Giantland when he encounters Óðinn, who refuses to let him cross, despite his awareness of Þórr's identity and thus their consanguinity. For Þórr this is a major disruption: he tries every trick in the book to make it to the other side of the fjord, including both flattery and threats. It is an intensely embarrassing situation for Þórr as his ability to perform the role of miðgarðz véor ('Protector of Miðgarðr') relies heavily on unrestricted access to different spatial realms. In this paper, I will examine in greater depth the ways in which Þórr is 'disrupted' on his journey and how this is an unusual portrayal of him compared to other Norse texts.