Book Series The North Atlantic World, vol. 7

Ecocriticism and Old Norse Studies

Nature and the Environment in Old Norse Literature and Culture

Reinhard Hennig, Emily Lethbridge, Michael Schulte (eds)

  • Pages: 312 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60484-8
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60485-5
  • E-book
  • Available


Reinhard Hennig is professor of Nordic literature at the University of Agder, Norway.

Emily Lethbridge is head of department and associate professor at the Department of Name Studies at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Michael Schulte is professor of historical linguistics at the University of Agder, Norway.


Ecocriticism and Old Norse Studies is the first anthology to combine environmental humanities approaches and the study of premodern Nordic literature and culture. The chapters gathered here present innovative research based on the most recent developments within ecologically informed literary and cultural studies. Covering a wide variety of sources, the volume provides new insights into the Old Norse environmental imagination, showing how premodern texts relate to nature and the environment — both the real-world environments of the Viking Age and Middle Ages, and the fantastic environments of some parts of saga literature. Collectively, the contributions shed new light on the role of cultural contacts, textual traditions, and intertextuality in the shaping of Old Norse perceptions and representations of nature and the environment, as well as on the modern reception and (mis-)use of these ideas. The volume moreover has a contemporary relevance, inviting readers to consider the lessons that can be learned from how people perceived their environments and interacted with them in the past as we face environmental crises in our own times.



Combining Ecocriticism and Old Norse Studies: Opportunities and Challenges
Reinhard Hennig, Emily Lethbridge, and Michael Schulte

Aesthetic Expressions of Nature in Skaldic Verse
Hannah Burrows

Trees in the Saga Dreamscape
Timothy Bourns

‘Brúðir berserkja barðak í hlés eyju’: A Material–Ecocritical Consideration of the Role of the Sea in Myths and Rituals of Premodern Scandinavia
Jonas Koesling

Legal Perspectives on Nature in Old Norse-Icelandic Lawcodes
Elizabeth Walgenbach

Imagining a Viking Age Risk Society: Environmental Threats, Risks, and Manufactured Uncertainties in the Sagas of Icelanders
Reinhard Hennig

Out of the Garden and Into the Forest: The Corruption of the Natural World in Old Icelandic Literature
Tiffany Nicole White

Askr and Embla: The Creation of Man from Trees
Sabine Heidi Walther

The Establishment of Niðaróss: The Nexus between Urban, Environmental, Political, and Salvation History
Stefka G. Eriksen

Imagining Trees in Mágus saga jarls
Philip Lavender

Son of the Soil and Son of Óðinn: Unveiling a Farmer’s Eddic Poetry (1920) and Colonial Germanic Concepts of Nature in South West Africa, Now Namibia
Juliane Egerer