Thursday 5 May 2016

Old Norse Postgraduate Symposium in Bergen

Jonathan Hui writes

The 10th Bergen-UK Old Norse Postgraduate Symposium was held in Bergen, Norway, between Tuesday 12th and Saturday 16th April 2016. The symposium featured thirty-one graduate speakers from eight universities across three busy days, with papers spanning a range of disciplines, including archaeology, history, religion, literature and linguistics. 

Led by Dr Judy Quinn and Dr Brittany Schorn, seven ASNC graduate students travelled to Bergen to participate in the symposium. On a first day which began with Professor Else Mundal's opening keynote lecture on knowledge in the poems of the Poetic Edda, two ASNC papers followed in the mythological vein: Amelia Herridge Ishak analysed the terminology used in the construction of mythological place-names, before Tom Grant offered a fascinating interpretation of the tenth-century skaldic poem Þórsdrápa

On Thursday, my paper on the localised legends underlying Bósa saga was followed by Katherine Olley's wide-ranging exploration of the dynamics of uncle-nephew relations in legendary poems and sagas, before Caitlin Ellis' examination of the historical factors behind the youthful exploits of Norwegian kings ended both the day and a delightfully cohesive session on representations of age. Friday saw Francesco Colombo combine textual and literary evidence to challenge some of the common editorial assumptions about Reginsmál and Fáfnismál, while Ben Allport employed statistical analysis to examine the usage of terms for Norwegian regional identities in Heimskringla

After three full days, all that remained was to enjoy the excursion day in the Bergen sunshine, with visits to Gamle Bergen, the Fisheries and Hanseatic Museums and Mount Fløyen rounding off a productive and enjoyable trip. A final word of thanks must go to Dr Jens Eike Schnall and Dr Helen Leslie-Jacobsen for their hard work and hospitality in organising the symposium.


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