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Medieval Icelandic Palaeography
Course code: SCANGM08
Credits: 30 credits.
This course aims to provide students with the ability to read medieval Icelandic manuscripts; to introduce them to the history of Icelandic script (c.1100-c. 1500); and to enable them to understand the principles of textual criticism. Much of the work in this class is practical: students will be required to transcribe texts, to identify script-types and to attempt to date scribal hands. The whole process of textual editing will also be considered, in its practical and theoretical aspects.
This course requires reading knowledge of Old Icelandic (at least one year of prior study; more is preferable).
Assessment: one 3-day take-home examination.
Course tutor: Christopher Abram, Scandinavian Studies Department
Time and location: The course comprises 40 hours of seminars. Please contact Christopher Abram to check its availability and to discuss your suitability for this course.
Preparatory reading: The main text book used for this class is Hreinn Benediktsson (ed.), Early Icelandic Script as Illustrated in Vernacular Texts from the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Íslenzk handrit: Icelandic Manuscripts, Series in Folio, II (Reykjavík, 1965)—copies of images for transcription practice will be provided in class, but the introduction is also well worth reading. Further preparatory reading: Bernhard Bischoff, Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1989); Michelle P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (London, 1990); Gísli Sigurðsson and Vésteinn Ólason (eds), The Manuscripts of Iceland (Reykjavík, 2004); D. C. Greetham, ‘Reading the text: Paleography’, in Textual Scholarship: An Introduction (New York, 1994), pp. 169-224; Guðvarður Már Gunnlaugsson: ‘Manuscripts and palaeography’, A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture, ed. Rory McTurk (Oxford, 2005), pp. 245-264.
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