Ómur tilfinninga í miðaldabókmenntum - verkefni lokið

Fréttatilkynning verkefnisstjóra


The main aims of the project were to address the multiplicity and interrelation of emotion and voice in medieval literature through a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach.  

The premise of the project was that medieval emotionality could only be accessed through textual, visual or archaeological evidence and that consequently in texts emotionality could only be accessed through the narrative itself.  Textual representation of emotion was for that reason found to be intimately related to the narrative voices present in the text.  After all, voice represents the presumed subject in the text, which in turn is imbued with emotion as the ‘feeling' subject to which the reader relates and responds.

The project drew on a mounting interest in cognitive approaches to literature, yet sought to engage the topic of emotion through medieval literary voices as the figurative means of conveying and representing medieval emotionality. The study sought to address questions such as how one can relate to emotions that are culturally contingent and hence marked by both time and place of their conception?  What does the emotive instance in a text tell us about the reading community which created and preserved it?  How can the voice of a text evoke feelings that are ultimately never real or actual, but a figment of a text, a fictive reality created out of words?  How does one reconcile interiority - a presumed modern conceptualisation - with medieval emotionality?

The forthcoming monograph details a theoretical paradigm for assessing textual emotionality and its relation to voice and/or vocalisation and showcases the applicability of the proposed theory to medieval literature through a study of the textual representation of emotion across multiple different genres and works. The study is focused on Old Norse literature, but takes a broad perspective, both temporally and geographically speaking. The project and the monograph thus address the question of how the modern reader can still today relate to and understand the fictive emotions of literary characters in works that predate us by several hundred years.



·         Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, Emotion in Old Norse Literature: Translations, Voices, Contexts, Studies in Old Norse Literature I, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, forthcoming 2017

·         Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, ‘Medieval Emotionality: The Feeling Subject in Medieval Literature', Comparative Literature 69.1 (2017), 74-90

·         Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, ‘Empire of Emotion: The Formation of Emotive Literary Identities and Mentalities in the North', in Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages, edited by Aisling Byrne and Victoria Flood, Turnhaut: Brepols (forthcoming)

·         Mishtooni Bose, ‘The Theatre of the Mind in Late-Medieval England', Medieval English Theatre 37 (2015), 171-184

·         Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, ‘Translating Emotion: Vocalisation and Embodiment in Yvain and Ívens saga', in Emotions in Medieval Arthurian Literature: Body, Mind, Voice, edited by Frank Brandsma, Carolyne Larrington and Corinne Saunders, Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015, 161-79

Presentations (by PI)

·         ‘Poetic Voice and Interior Emotionality in Old Norse Literature', The Northern Scholars Public Lecture, University of Edinburgh, The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 13 October, 2016 (Invited Speaker)

·         ‘Affective Dying and Loving in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde', Twentieth Biennial New Chaucer Society Congress, London, 10-15 July, 2016

·         ‘Medieval Emotionality: The Feeling Subject in Medieval Literature', Public Lecture at the University of Bristol, English Department, 13 October 2015 (Invited Speaker)

·         ‘Empire of Emotion: The Formation of Emotive Literary Identities and Mentalities in the North', Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages, c. 900-1500, Philipps-Universität Marburg, 8–10  April, 2015 (Keynote speaker)

·         ‘Poetic Sensorium and Aesthetic Objectification in the Middle English Pearl', Medieval Academy of America Meeting, Notre Dame, 12–14 March, 2015

·         ‘Empathy, Emotion and the Medieval Text', International Conference on Empathy in Language, Literature and Society, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, 4-6 April 2014


·         Vox, Vois, Voys: Voicing the Middle Ages, 11 June 2015, Christ Church, Oxford


·         Chloé Vondenhoff, ‘“Lend me your hearts...”: A Cross-Cultural Study of the Emotive Transmission of Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain and Perceval' (Ph.D. thesis, in progress)

·         Ásthildur Helen Gestsdóttir, ‘ “Hún vill sig kóng kalla láta”: Meykóngar í íslenskri sagnagerð' (MA thesis, 2016)

·         Arnhildur Lilý Karlsdóttir, ‘Kallíhróa: Um tjáningu og túlkun tilfinninga í forngrískri skáldsögu' (MA thesis, 2015)

·         Brynja Þorgeirsdóttir, ‘“Gerðist Egill ókátur, þögull og drakk oftast lítt”: Ássýki í Eglu og fleiri miðaldabókmenntum' (MA thesis, 2015)

·         Jacob Malone, ‘Vessel and Voice: a Comparative Cognitive Semiotic Study of the Prophetic Voice in Eddic Poetry and Merlinusspá' (MA thesis, 2015)

Heiti verkefnis: Ómur tilfinninga í miðaldabókmenntum
Verkefnisstjóri: Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, Háskóla Íslands
Tegund styrks: Verkefnisstyrkur
Styrktímabil: 2013-2015
Fjárhæð styrks: 17,523 millj. kr. alls
Tilvísunarnúmer Rannís:  130605

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