Book Series Acta Scandinavica, vol. 4

Minni and Muninn

Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture

Pernille Hermann, Stephen A. Mitchell, Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir (eds)

  • Pages: 244 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English, Old Norse, Latin
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54910-1
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54996-5
  • E-book
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This volume consists of articles about terms for, concepts of and functions of memory. The articles deal with medieval Norse texts, such as sagas, myths, skaldic poems, laws and historiographical writings, and they refer to theoretical insights from international memory studies that have developed recently.


"This is an excellent collection (...). (...) This contribution from the North will strengthen the fiber of burgeoning of memory studies." (Willliam Sayers, in: The Medieval Review, January 2015, [15.01.10])

"In summary, this volume marks an important point in bringing to bear the study of memory and the mechanisms of memorialisation on the legal, cultural, and social record of the medieval north." (Roderick McDonald, in: Parergon 32.2, 2015, p. 302-304)

“Every article in this volume makes the book a valuable addition to the growing body of memory studies dealing with the Scandinavian medieval world.” (Ingunn Ásdísardóttir, in Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October 2020, p. 544)


In recent years, various branches of memory studies have provided useful tools of analysis that offer new ways of understanding medieval cultures. The articles in this collection draw on these new theoretical tools for studying - and conceptualizing - memory, in order to reassess the function of memory in medieval Nordic culture. Despite its interdisciplinary and comparative basis, the volume remains very much an empirical study of memory and memory-dependent issues as these took form in the Nordic world.

In addition, the articles deal with a variety of theoretical concepts and areas of investigation which are of relevance when dealing with memory studies in general, such as transmission and media, preservation and storage, forgetting and erasure, and authenticity and falsity. The articles cover a wide range of medieval texts, such as saga, myth, poetry, law, historiography, learned literature, and other forms of verbal expression, such as runic inscriptions.



Introduction: Minni and Muninn – Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture — PERNILLE HERMANN, STEPHEN A. MITCHELL, and AGNES S. ARNORSDOTTIR

Part I. Memory and Narration

Key Aspects of Memory and Remembering in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature — PERNILLE HERMANN

Memory and Old Norse Mythology — JOHN LINDOW

Authentication of Poetic Memory in Old Norse Skaldic Verse — MARGARET CLUNIES ROSS

Minni and the Rhetoric of Memory in Eddic, Skaldic, and Runic Texts — KATE HESLOP

Autobiographical Memory in Medieval Scandinavia and amongst the Kievan Rus’ — RUSSELL POOLE

Part II. Memory and History

Memoria Normannica — RUDOLF SIMEK

The Mythologized Past: Memory in Medieval and Early Modern Gotland — STEPHEN A. MITCHELL

Constructing a Past to Suit the Present: Sturla Tordarson on Conflicts and Alliances with King Haraldr harfagri — GISLI SIGURDSSON

Minnunga man: The Usage of Old Knowledgeable Men in Legal Cases — STEFAN BRINK

Legal Culture and Historical Memory in Medieval and Early Modern Iceland — AGNES S. ARNORSDOTTIR