Events Diary

The World Heritage Site is a hive of activity, with many concerts, plays, talks and other events. What will you find of interest?

The events shown are taking place on or around Durham World Heritage Site. If you are organising an event, please tell us about it.

Wandering Across Scandinavia in Egils Saga

  • 14 Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 5.30pm Location: Alington House Tickets https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/then-egil-became-sad-wandering-across-scandinavia-in-egils-saga-tickets-67914920355

    More information from www.dur.ac.uk/english.studies/events/lsls/

Late Summer Lectures is back for 2019! Come along to this free series organised by Durham University Department of English Studies, open to everyone from schools and students to members of the public. In this opening talk, Kate Marlow will take us on a trip round Scandinavia, guided by one of the adventuring heroes of thirteenth-century literature.

About this Public Lecture

Egils Saga is a text that describes the travels of a single family around the Scandinavian sprawl as they negotiate relationships with the places and peoples they encounter. It also reflects the concerns of both the time it was written, the mid thirteenth century, and the time it was set, the tenth century. My presentation will give the audience an overview of the saga, before embarking on an analysis of the text. The saga’s protagonist, Egil, is born and brought up in Iceland, but makes his name as a warrior-poet in Norway and England, where he interacts with the royal courts to gain notoriety. His situation in Norway is made more difficult by the fact that his father and grandfather had offended King Harald Finehair before they migrated from Norway, but Egil himself maintains this poor relationship across the generations with Harald’s son, Eric Bloodaxe. Conversely, Egil is able to establish a positive relationship with the English King Æthelstan, but his position in !

 England is made precarious by the establishment of Eric’s kingdom in Northumbria. The saga recalls the ways in which the Icelanders had to manage their relationships abroad in tenth century, when their connection to Norway was still very recent, while also referencing the thirteenth century, when Iceland had been independent for generations, but the threat of Norwegian control was rising. The text shows how the Icelanders wished themselves to be viewed by the rest of Scandinavia and the Scandinavian holdings, as well as articulating contemporary and ongoing concerns about the place of Iceland in Europe. It also depicts Iceland as a place of freedom and ideal heroic behaviour, while acknowledging that the wanderlust of the ideal Icelandic hero can never be satisfied within the bounds of the island.

About Kate Marlow

Kate Marlow is a second year PhD student in the Department of History at Durham. Her PhD research is on the formation of ethnic identity in Anglo-Saxon England and medieval Iceland. Her undergraduate degree is in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin, and she uses interdisciplinary techniques from English and History in my studies in order to access a range of sources and interpretations. Over the course of her studies she has taken particular interest in heroic literature such as Beowulf and the Icelandic sagas, and high fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings.

Events Diary

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