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Chapter 2 - Scandinavia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 August 2022

Mark Chinca
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Christopher Young
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

In Iceland, as on the Continent, the fifty years on either side of 1200 witnessed a burst of literary production in the vernacular. The new medium of the book, with its state-of-the-art technological infrastructure and storage potential, had arrived. Norse prose texts were composed and compiled in emulation of or in rivalry with Latin and European vernacular models. Elite channels funnelled Latin learning throughout the country, invigorating and fertilizing its famed indigenous traditions. In the centuries that followed, some literary works were kept, some discarded, some were remodelled to suit shifting tastes. Textual collections reveal individual strategies of acquisition, classification, and censorship. Sociologists speak of the dynamics of hip-hop or jazz in terms of African and European counterflows, minglings, intertwinings, see-sawings, stigmergies, feedback loops, co-optations, hybridizations, and other vertiginous to-ings and fro-ings. In medieval Scandinavia as elsewhere, the exotic and different exerted an attraction, with new literary forms slowly obsoleting the old. The literary culture of medieval Scandinavia achieved its shape under the influence of European models, but was at the same time conditioned by local economic, social, and political arrangements.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Scandinavia
  • Edited by Mark Chinca, University of Cambridge, Christopher Young, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages
  • Online publication: 11 August 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776912.003
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  • Scandinavia
  • Edited by Mark Chinca, University of Cambridge, Christopher Young, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages
  • Online publication: 11 August 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776912.003
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Scandinavia
  • Edited by Mark Chinca, University of Cambridge, Christopher Young, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages
  • Online publication: 11 August 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776912.003
Available formats
×