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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Off the Edge of the Map: Travelling Beyond the Limits of the Human in the Old Norse Sagas

4th November 2014, 17:30, Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Dr Eleanor Barraclough, Durham University

followed by a drinks reception at the Cafe, Palace Green Library.

This event is part of the IMEMS Limits of the Human seminar series for 2014/15. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book your place click here

Abstract: How do the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas depict the outermost fringes of the world? More importantly, who—or what—is said to live there? From the magical Sámi of the far north to the outlandish natives of North America, from nymphomaniac giant queens in the Arctic to dragons and beak-faced men on the Russian waterways, the sagas populate the geographical margins with marvellous races and monstrous creatures. This paper will explore how, in saga tales of exploration and adventure, the limits of the human world become intertwined with the limits of the human self.

Eleanor Barraclough is Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Durham University. She studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge, before moving to Oxford to take up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. Her primary research interest is in the languages, literatures and cultures of the medieval North, and Old Norse-Icelandic literature in particular. Much of her recent work has focused on medieval geographies and landscapes, both real and imagined. In 2013 she was chosen as a BBC Radio 3 “New Generation Thinker”. Since then, she has appeared on the radio to talk about topics ranging from medieval dragons to Viking invasions and Nordic Noir crime fiction.

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