Old Norse-Icelandic Philology and National Identity in the Long Nineteenth Century


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For centuries, the literary heritage preserved in Icelandic medieval manuscripts has played a vital role in the self-image of the Icelandic nation. From the late eighteenth century, Icelandic scholars had better opportunities than previously to study and publish this material on their own terms. Throughout the long nineteenth century they were intensely engaged in philological work on it. This coincided with an increasing awareness among Icelanders of a separate nationality and their growing demand for autonomy. What was the connection between the two developments? This literature was also important for the shaping of identities among other Northern European nations. The twelve chapters of this collection explore the interplay between various national discourses that characterized the scholarly reception of this heritage during the period.

Contributors are: Alderik H. Blom, Clarence E. Glad, Matthew James Driscoll, Gylfi Gunnlaugsson, Simon Halink, Hjalti Snær Ægisson, Jon Gunnar Jørgensen, Annette Lassen, and Ragnheiður Mósesdóttir.

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Gylfi Gunnlaugsson, cand. mag. (1990), University of Iceland, is a researcher at the Reykjavik Academy. He has taught at the University of Kiel and the University of Iceland. He has published extensively on the reception of Old Norse literature in later periods..

Clarence E. Glad, Ph.D. (1992), Brown University, is a researcher at the Reykjavik Academy. He has published monographs and articles on nineteenth century Icelandic cultural nationalism and on the Pauline heritage in Early Christianity, including Paul and Philodemus (Brill, 1995).
Notes on Contributors
Gylfi Gunnlaugsson

1 Whose Cultural Heritage?
Icelandic Philological Research and Its Repercussions before 1830
Gylfi Gunnlaugsson
2 “Sacred Isle! Mightiest Temple of Remembrance!”
Rasmus Rask, Iceland and the Icelandic Language
Alderik H. Blom
3 Müller’s Method
The Resurrection of Danish Saga Translations
Annette Lassen
4 Icelandic-Danish Cooperation and Disputes 1816–1858
Clarence E. Glad
5 Sveinbjörn Egilsson
Philologist, Translator and Teacher
Clarence E. Glad
6 Rudolf Keyser and His Use of Old Norse Texts in the Norwegian National Initiative
Jon Gunnar Jørgensen
7 Jón Sigurðsson
A Philologist Captive in the Image of a National Hero
Clarence E. Glad
8 The Invigorating Childhood Memories of the North
On Grímur Thomsen’s Scholarly Work and Poetry
Gylfi Gunnlaugsson
9 National Liberty and Its Shortcomings
Benedikt Gröndal’s De studiis classicis and the Dichotomizing of Icelandic and French Identities
Hjalti Snær Ægisson
10 Guðbrandur Vigfússon
An Icelandic Philologist in Oxford
Ragnheiður Mósesdóttir
11 Finnur Jónsson, Editor of Everything
Matthew James Driscoll
12 Between Hekla and Dofrafjall
Björn M. Ólsen, Finnur Jónsson and the Origins of the Eddic Poems
Simon Halink

Researchers and students in the fields of Nordic philology, Scandinavian studies, nineteenth-century history, nationalism studies and cultural memory.
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