Encountering the Otherworld in Medieval Nordic Literature
The purpose of the project is to gain new knowledge and understanding of the supernatural elements and stories in the Old Norse family sagas (13th-14th century). Since this genre is usually connected with realism and down-to-earth conflicts, such elements have frequently been neglected or seen as exceptions. The project aims to throw light on such elements by the help of new perspectives, regarding comparative material as well as theory.
The main question is: how were the Otherworld beings and the human encounters with them conceived in the Íslendingasögur by the saga authors and their contemporaries? This will be examined in analyses of the sagas concerning function, conditions, dimensionality and ontology of the supernatural encounters. The results will be interpreted in a frame of a non-narrative comparative material, which also includes sources from the Scandinavian 15th to 17th centuries not used in this context so far. Theoretical concepts from folkloristics and history will be used.