Snorri Sturluson and the Edda is a significant publication in the field for two important reasons: first, it offers a provocative challenge to established models of literary culture in medieval Scandinavia; secondly, it is certainly the most up-to-date and probably the most comprehensive scholarly treatment of Snorri Sturluson's life and works yet to have been written. (Christopher Abram, Department of Scandinavian Studies, University College, London)
Snorri Sturluson and the Edda: The Conversion of Cultural Capital in Medieval Scandinaviaby Kevin Wanner
Why would Snorri Sturluson (c. 1179-1241), the most powerful and rapacious Icelander of his generation, dedicate so much time and effort to producing the Edda, a text that is widely recognized as the most significant medieval source for pre-Christian Norse myth and poetics? Kevin J. Wanner brings us a new account of the interests that motivated the production of
Why would Snorri Sturluson (c. 1179-1241), the most powerful and rapacious Icelander of his generation, dedicate so much time and effort to producing the Edda, a text that is widely recognized as the most significant medieval source for pre-Christian Norse myth and poetics? Kevin J. Wanner brings us a new account of the interests that motivated the production of this text, and resolves the mystery of its genesis by demonstrating the intersection of Snorri's political and cultural concerns and practices.
The author argues that the Edda is best understood not as an antiquarian labour of cultural conservation, but as a present-centered effort to preserve skaldic poetry's capacity for conversion into material and symbolic benefits in exchanges between elite Icelanders and the Norwegian court. Employing Pierre Bourdieu's economic theory of practice, Wanner shows how modern sociological theory can be used to illuminate the cultural practices of the European Middle Ages. In doing so, he provides the most detailed analysis to date of how the Edda relates to Snorri's biography, while shedding light on the arenas of social interaction and competition that he negotiated.
A fascinating look at the intersections of political interest and cultural production, Snorri Sturluson and the Edda is a detailed portrait of both an important man and the society of his times.
- University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
- Publication date:
- Toronto Old Norse-Icelandic Series (TONIS) Series
- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
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Meet the Author
Kevin J. Wanner is an assistant professor in the Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University.
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