The medieval northern world consisted of a vast and culturally diverse region both geographically, from roughly Greenland to Novgorod and culturally, as one of the last areas of Europe to be converted to Christianity. Old Norse Folklore explores the complexities of this fascinating world in case studies and theoretical essays that connect orality and performance theory to memory studies, and myths relating to pre-Christian Nordic religion to innovations within late medieval pilgrimage song culture.
Old Norse Folklore provides critical new perspectives on the Old Norse world, some of which appear in this volume for the first time in English. Stephen A. Mitchell presents emerging methodologies by analyzing Old Norse materials to offer a better understandings ofunderstanding of Old Norse materials. He examines, interprets, and re-interprets the medieval data bequeathed to us by posterity—myths, legends, riddles, charms, court culture, conversion narratives, landscapes, and mindscapes—targeting largely overlooked, yet important sources of cultural insights.
Stephen A. Mitchell is the Robert S. and Ilse Friend Professor of Scandinavian and Folklore at Harvard University. His research centers on the Nordic world in the medieval and early modern periods, and employs a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, including performance theory, memory studies, anthropological linguistics, and other folklore-centered perspectives. He is author of Heroic Sagas and Ballads and Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages.