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The Church in Fourteenth-Century Iceland

The Formation of an Elite Clerical Identity

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Erika Sigurdson

In The Church in Fourteenth-Century Iceland, Erika Sigurdson provides a history of the fourteenth-century Icelandic Church with a focus on the the social status of elite clerics following the introduction of benefices to Iceland. In this period, the elite clergy developed a shared identity based in part on universal clerical values, but also on a shared sense of interdependence, personal networks and connections within the framework of the Church.
The Church in Fourteenth-Century Iceland examines the development of this social group through an analysis of bishops’ sagas, annals, and documents. In the process, it chronicles major developments in the Icelandic Church after the reforms of the late thirteenth century, including its emphasis on property and land ownership, and the growth of ecclesiastical bureaucracy.

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Edited by Tania Ørum and Jesper Olsson

A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries 1950-1975 is the first publication to deal with the postwar avant-garde in the Nordic countries. The essays cover a wide range of avant-garde manifestations in arts and culture: literature, the visual arts, architecture and design, film, radio, television and the performative arts.
It is the first major historical work to consider the Nordic avant-garde in a transnational perspective that includes all the arts and to discuss the role of the avant-garde not only within the aesthetic field but in a broader cultural and political context: The cultural politics, institutions and new cultural geographies after World War II, new technologies and media, performative strategies, interventions into everyday life and tensions between market and counterculture.

The Dream of the North

A Cultural History to 1920

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Peter Fjågesund

Northern Europe and North America have dominated the world stage for more than two centuries. Using a wide range of sources, this book provides the first coherent account from a multi-national perspective of the ideas and perceptions that, from the Renaissance onwards, fuelled the North’s rise to prominence, and enabled it to rival the traditional cultural and political hegemony of the South. This includes not only the fascinating conquest of the polar regions, but also the religious upheaval of the Reformation, the changing view of nature engendered by Romanticism, and, not least, the revival of ancient Nordic and Celtic culture. Finally, the book offers an indispensable historical background to current events in the Far North, where the past and the future meet in a complex web of dramatic environmental concerns, the exploitation of natural resources, and the strategies of politics and commerce.

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Edited by Wolfgang Behschnitt, Sarah De Mul and Liesbeth Minnaard

Literature, Language, and Multiculturalism in Scandinavia and the Low Countries presents a ground-breaking comparative approach to the study of multicultural literature. Focusing on the development of migration literature in Sweden, Denmark, Flanders, and the Netherlands, the volume argues that the political and institutional preconditions for the development of ‘multicultural’ literatures are still given within the frame of the nation-state. As a consequence, both the field of ‘migration literature’ and the (multi-)lingual quality of literary texts are shaped differently in each state and in each language area. The volume delineates the development of multicultural literature in Scandinavia and the Low Countries as a function of the specific language situations in these countries as well as the various political, institutional, and discursive contexts.
This book not only offers a comprehensive theoretical and methodological analysis of multilingualism and multicultural literature, but also provides overviews sketching the discourse on multiculturalism, language and the development of the literary field in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Flanders. Besides it presents a broad range of in-depth analyses of selected literary texts from each of these countries.

Baltic Eugenics

Bio-Politics, Race and Nation in Interwar Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 1918-1940

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Edited by Björn M. Felder and Paul J. Weindling

The history of eugenics in the Baltic States is largely unknown. The book compares for the first time the eugenic projects of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the related disciplines of racial anthropology and psychiatry, and situates them within the wider European context. Strong ethno-nationalism defined the nation as a biological group, which was fostered by authoritarian regimes established in Lithuania in 1926, and in Estonia and Latvia in 1934. The eugenics projects were designed to establish a nation in biological terms. Their aims were to render the nation ethnically, genetically and racially homogeneous. The main agenda was a non-democratic state that defined its population in biological terms. Eugenic policies were to regenerate the nation and to reconstruct it as a “pure” and “original” race, Such schemes for national regeneration contained strong elements of secular religion.

The Human Sausage Factory

A Study of Post-War Rumour in Tartu

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Eda Kalmre

Under certain conditions, some rumours, which were established as part of folklore already long ago, may become fixed in the memory and the subconscious of several generations. This is what happened with the rumour about a human sausage factory after the Second World War. In Tartu, Estonia, this rumour obtained a symbolic meaning and power due to the politics of the totalitarian Soviet regime. The memories of the post-war period are still vivid in the collective mind, and the onetime rumour of sausage factories incorporates the population’s tensions, pain, loss, choices, defiance and irreconcilability. The individual and community emotions that are brought to a focus in this discourse are an indicator of defining social boundaries and behaviour, of ‘us’ and ‘them’. When describing the events that took place in Tartu, folklore becomes a powerful tool with which to construe the meaning of the era at the social level.
Through documents, photos and people’s memories, the book offers an insight into the city of Tartu after the Second World War and reveals the several layers of meaning represented by rumour in this period.

The Life and Thought of Lev Karsavin

"Strength made perfect in weakness…"

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Dominic Rubin

“At last, Russia has begun to speak in a truly original voice.” So said Anatoly Vaneev, a Soviet dissident who became Karsavin’s disciple in the Siberian gulag where the philosopher spent his last two years. The book traces the unusual trajectory of this inspiring voice: Karsavin started his career as Russia’s brightest historian of Catholic mysticism; however, his radical methods – which were far ahead of their time – shocked his conservative colleagues. The shock continued when Karsavin turned to philosophy, writing flamboyant and dense essays in a polyphonic style, which both Marxists and religious traditionalists found provocative. There was no let-up after he was expelled by Lenin from Soviet Russia: in exile, he became a leading theorist in the Eurasian political movement, combining Orthodox theology with a left-wing political orientation. Finally, Karsavin found stability when he was invited to teach history in Lithuania: there he spent twenty years reworking his philosophy, before suffering the German and Soviet invasions of his new homeland, and then deportation and death. Clearing away misunderstandings and putting the work and life in context, this book shows how Karsavin made an original contribution to European philosophy, inter-religious dialogue, Orthodox and Catholic theology, and the understanding of history.

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Edited by Hubert van den Berg, Irmeli Hautamäki, Benedikt Hjartarson, Torben Jelsbak, Rikard Schönström, Per Stounbjerg, Tania Ørum and Dorthe Aagesen

A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries 1900-1925 is the first publication to deal with the avant-garde in the Nordic countries at the start of the twentieth century. The essays cover a wide range of avant-garde manifestations in arts and culture: literature, the visual arts, painting as well as photography, architecture and design, film, radio, and performing arts like music, theatre and dance.
It is the first major historical work to consider the Nordic avant-garde in a transnational perspective which includes all the arts and to discuss the role of the avant-garde not only within the aesthetic field, but in a broader cultural context. It examines the social and cultural context of the avant-garde: its media, its locations, its reception and audiences, the transmissions between Scandinavia and Europe, and its cultural consequences.
The essays trace the connections between the avant-garde and the cultural discourses of contemporary currents such as revolutionary socialism, radical nationalism and occultism, and discuss questions of gender, ideology and politics, geographical location and technological innovation. The cultural history thus focuses on the role of the avant-garde in shaping the ideas of cultural modernity in the Nordic countries.

Forgotten Pages in Baltic History

Diversity and Inclusion

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Edited by Martyn Housden and David J. Smith

The years from 1918 to 1945 remain central to European History. It was a breath-taking time during which the very best and very worst attributes of Mankind were on display. In the euphoria of peace which followed the end of the First World War, the Baltic States emerged as independent forces on the world stage, participating in thrilling experiments in national and transnational governance. Later, following economic collapse and in the face of rising totalitarianism among even Europe’s most cultured nations, Baltic communities succumbed to nationalism too. During wartime, Baltic peoples became both victims and, sometimes, victimisers. Ultimately their victimhood lasted until the end of the Cold War, yielding consequences still discernible at the start of the twenty first century. Taking the period 1918 to 1945 as pivotal, this collection of essays examines some of the key themes in Baltic History as they are emerging today. These include appreciations of identity, autonomy and the rights of national minorities; the everyday and social foundations of international security; and the importance of historical memory to popular and political identities.

The last ambassador

August Torma, soldier, diplomat, spy

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Tina Tamman

Estonian ambassador August Torma had a protracted and unconventional relationship with the British Foreign Office. Appointed to the Court of St James’s in 1934, Torma lost his government in 1940 when the Soviet Union overran his country, but continued to live at the legation in London and visit the Foreign Office. Gradually, however, his diplomatic standing was eroded because of Soviet demands. For Torma there was the very real fear that Britain might recognise the Soviet occupation of his homeland and he continued to reiterate his faith in international law in the hope that Estonia’s stolen independence would be restored one day. He died in 1971, twenty years before the country regained its lost freedom. This book is a biography of Torma who had a remarkable life: he assisted in the creation of the Estonian state in 1918–20, worked for it during the inter-war period and struggled to keep its cause alive during and after the Second World War; it is also a study of the awkward relationship between the ambassador and the Foreign Office that lasted for more than three decades.