Pre-modern Seminar No 44: Philip A. Shaw
On Wednesday May 11th PhD Philip A. Shaw from the University of Leicester will give a talk called:
“A glove in hood’s clothing? Beowulf, Hrólfs saga kraka and the transmission of heroic tradition”
The seminar will take place in Jakobi 2-114 at 18.15.
Wine, bread, fruit, cheese and ham will be served.
Philip has sent us a short presentation of his lecture:
“The possibility of a relationship between parts of the narrative of Beowulf and parts of the narrative ofHrólfs saga kraka has been the subject of much debate. This paper takes a fresh look at this problem by starting from the named companions of the two heroes, Hondscio in Beowulf and Höttr in Hrólfs saga. In the context of the Old English text, the name Hondscio is puzzling, appearing not to belong to the normal stock of dithematic variation names in use in Anglo-Saxon England, or, indeed, elsewhere in the Germanic-speaking world. This contrasts with the vast bulk of the personal names in the poem, which conform to normal Germanic personal naming patterns. Still more puzzling, this name appears to derive from a Continental Germanic word meaning ‘glove’ that did not exist in England or Scandinavia (although it was later borrowed into the Scandinavian languages). This suggests something about the origins of the narrative materials of Beowulf, but it also prompts us to consider again the character Höttr in Hrólfs saga, whose name is suspiciously close to the Old Norse word vöttr ‘glove’, which appears elsewhere in the saga as the name of one of Hrólf’s champions. A re-examination of this character’s role in the narrative suggests that scholars may have overlooked a number of structural similarities between the two texts, and that they can indeed be seen as representatives of the same narrative, albeit in very different literary modes, one heroic, the other mock heroic and comedic. This has broader implications for our understanding of the genesis of both narratives, and the oral tradition by which the underlying narrative was transmitted.”
Everybody is welcome!
The Pre-modern seminar is an interdisciplinary and informal seminar at Tartu University organized by the Department of Scandinavian Studies and led by Professor Daniel Sävborg. It was founded in 2010 and has so far arranged 43 meetings with talks by scholars on different levels, both from Estonia and from abroad. The focus is on pre-1800 issues of all kinds.
Professor of Scandinavian Studies