GRC 323E • Vikings and Their Literature-W
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
Vikings: the very word conjures up images of violence and bravery: lightning raids on defenseless farms, the sacking of great cities, long voyages across cold and uncharted seas, the discovery of new worlds. It is a tale of terror and brute force, tinged with mythology and melancholy. But these Vikings evolved a complex and stable culture, shaped a richly detailed religion, created beautiful art, expanded horizons of the known world, and, most importantly, left behind a body of great literature. The course will survey Scandinavian literature from the Germanic heroes of the Edda to the great Vikings in the Icelandic family sagas. Norse mythology with its Odin, Freyja, Thor, giants and trolls will be examined in detail as well as Wagner's use of the mythology to create his Ring. After a brief look at skaldic poetry, the Viking journeys to Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland (North America) will be considered. We will conclude with the reading of some of the classic Icelandic sagas.
Essays: two to three essays totaling at least 3500 words (48%). Essays turned in during the final week of class will only be graded. Other Writing: in-class (3) and abstract (1) - (12%) Quizzes: mid-term (15%) and final (15%) exams, both on line. Classroom participation: (10%).
Beowulf, Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas, Poetic Edda, Eyrbyggja Saga, Saga of the Volsungs, King Harald's Saga, Nibelungenlied, Laxdæla Saga, Snorri Sturlusons Prose Edda, Vinland Sagas, Grettis Saga, Njáls Saga