Thesis title: Writing Landscapes of Power in Old Norse Literature, c.1200-1400
Supervisor: Dr Siân Grønlie
Research Interests: Old Norse-Icelandic literature; Old French literature; Anglo-Norman literature; broadly medieval European romance; medieval Icelandic history; medieval Norwegian history; Old English and Middle English literature and history; medieval cartography studies; theories of space; landscape studies; eco-criticism; cultural anthropology.
Doctoral Research: The mythological realms, learned geographies, and starkly realistic landscapes of medieval Iceland depicted in Old Norse-Icelandic literature have fascinated scholars and wider audiences for decades. However, little critical attention has been given to the spaces and landscapes set outside of Iceland. My doctoral research will investigate the production of spaces of power in Old Norse-Icelandic histories, hagiographies, and translated and indigenous romances, through an examination of non-Iceland landscapes. Through analysing physical spaces associated with political, religious, and social power, I will explore the intersection of space and power in Old Norse-Icelandic literature and examine how landscapes as physical spaces were ideologically charged as well as aesthetically powerful.
Studying and understanding the production of landscapes is critical to understanding, not only how medieval Icelanders engaged with and the depicted their physical environment, but also how they imagined the wider known medieval world. This doctoral project will combine the methodologies of spatial theories and landscape studies to interrogate the synthesis of aesthetics and ideology in Old Norse-Icelandic literature. The core focus of this thesis centres on the discursive constructedness of non-Icelandic landscapes and the way in which they are used to articulate relationships between space and power.
My research project is supported by the Clarendon Fund Scholarship in partnership Balliol College where I am a Foley-Béjar Scholar.