Minni and Muninn. Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture. Ed. Pernille Hermann, Stephen A. Mitchell and Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014, 254 pp.

ABSTRACT: Building on and applying the theoretical debates developed in Memory and Remembering: Past Awareness in the Medieval North, ed. Pernille Hermann and Stephen A. Mitchell, a special issue of Scandinavian Studies, 85:3 (2013), the articles in this volume deal with the vocabulary, concepts, and functions of memory in medieval Norse texts (e.g., sagas, myths, skaldic poems, laws, runic inscriptions, historiographical writings), with reference to international memory studies. Drawing on these emerging theoretical tools for studying—and conceptualizing—memory, the collection looks at new ways of understanding medieval cultures and such issues as transmission and media, preservation and storage, forgetting and erasure, and authenticity and falsity. Despite its interdisciplinary and comparative basis, the volume remains grounded in empirical studies of memory and memory-dependent issues as these took form in the Nordic world.

CONTENTS: Jürg Glauser, “Foreword” vii; Pernille Hermann, Stephen A. Mitchell, and Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir, “Introduction: Minni and Muninn — Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture” 1; Part I. Memory and Narration — Pernille Hermann, “Key Aspects of Memory and Remembering in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature” 13; John Lindow, “Memory and Old Norse Mythology” 41; Margaret Clunies Ross, “Authentication of Poetic Memory in Old Norse Skaldic Verse” 59; Kate Heslop, “Minni and the Rhetoric of Memory in Eddic, Skaldic, and Runic Texts” 75; Russell Poole, “Autobiographical Memory in Medieval Scandinavia and amongst the Kievan Rus’” 109; Part II. Memory and History — Rudolf Simek, “Memoria Normannica” 133; Stephen A. Mitchell, “The Mythologized Past: Memory in Medieval and Early Modern Gotland” 155; Gísli Sigurðsson, “Constructing a Past to Suit the Present: Sturla Þórðarson on Conflicts and Alliances with King Haraldr hárfagri” 175; Stefan Brink, “Minnunga mæn: The Usage of Old Knowledgeable Men in Legal Cases” 197; Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir, “Legal Culture and Historical Memory in Medieval and Early Modern Iceland” 211; Index 231

Memory and Remembering: Past Awareness in the Medieval North, Ed. Pernille Hermann and Stephen Mitchell. Special issue of Scandinavian Studies, 85:3, 2013, 149 pp.

ABSTRACT: The 2012 Radcliffe Seminar, “The Ambiguities of Memory Construction in Medieval Texts: The Nordic Case,” inspired a series of theoretically-oriented essays which appeared as Memory and Remembering: Past Awareness in the Medieval North. The authors of the essays in this special issue of Scandinavian Studies examine how a focus on memory, in combination with the various other methodologies and approaches that fill the intellectual kit bags of Scandinavian medievalists, alters our understanding of the Old Norse world and the cultural goods deriving from it. With a consideration of how Memory Studies can and should intersect with the diverse theories scholars use in cultural analysis, these essays examine memory’s crucial role in the construction of, and society’s preoccupation with, the past in the Nordic Middle Ages. Importantly, the discussions do not focus on problems of historicity, that is, what actually happened at some point in the past, but rather on how the past was constructed, valorized, recontextualized, re-enacted, and otherwise placed by each succeeding generation into a changed “contemporary” framework that gave the past meaning. With their focus on memory, the discussions in these essays challenge some of the most complicated debates in the study of the Nordic Middle Ages.

CONTENTS: Pernille Hermann and Stephen Mitchell, "Constructing the Past. Introductory Remarks," 261-66; Anders Andrén, “Places, Monuments and Objects. The Past in Ancient Scandinavia,” 267-81; Stephen Mitchell, “Memory, Mediality, and the ‘Performative Turn’: Recontextualizing Remembering in Medieval Scandinavia,” 282-305; Thomas A. DuBois, “Ethnomemory: Ethnographic and Culture-Centered Approaches to the Study of Memory,” 306-31; Pernille Hermann, “Saga Literature, Cultural Memory and Storage,” 332-54; Bjørn Bandlien, “Hegemonic Memory, Counter-Memory and Struggles for Royal Power: The Rhetoric of the Past in the Age of King Sverrir Sigurðsson of Norway,” 355-77; Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir, “Cultural Memory and Gender in Iceland from Medieval to Early Modern Time,” 378-99; and Gísli Sigurðsson, “Past Awareness in Christian Environments: Source-Critical Ideas about Memories of the Pagan Past,” 400-10.


Simon Nygaard and Yoav Tirosh are in the process of editing some of the papers given at the sessions on Old Norse Studies and Collective Memory held at the IMC 2019 at Leeds University along with other constitutions in a thematic special issue of the journal Scandinavian-Canadian Studies / Études scandinaves au Canada on Old Norse Studies and Collective Memory slated for publication in 2021 as volume 28 of the journal.