Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Viking Reading

What with the upcoming Viking exhibition next year (see previous post), there is certainly a flurry of recent and forthcoming books on relevant topics. I have been scouring the internet and am amazed at how much is imminent, which I will never, ever have time to read! (Being a slow reader as I am). But I thought I'd draw your attention to the following about which I am sufficiently knowledgeable to recommend with confidence, even if I haven't read them yet... Please note that some of these books are not out yet, but those that aren't are all planned for publication within the next six months or so, and those that are are brand new, so you can start planning your buying and reading now! If you notice a certain Nottingham slant to the list, then that's simply because we have, or have had, some great people here.

For a general introduction to The Vikings in Britain and Ireland, the super trio of Jayne Carroll, Stephen Harrison and Gareth Williams will be hard to beat. Published by the British Museum Press, their book will be illustrated with objects from the British Museum, and possibly the odd snapshot of a signpost...

For a scholarly, but accessible, introduction to runes, see Runes by Martin Findell, also published by the British Museum Press, and again illustrated with objects from their collections.

A rather different sort of book is promised by Carlton Books for The Viking Experience by our former and current doctoral candidates Marjolein Stern and Roderick Dale. Buy it and see!

While the above are intended for the general reader, I must also mention the thick and deeply scholarly tome by Sara Pons-Sanz, The Lexical Effects of Anglo-Scandinavian Linguistic Contact on Old English, 600 pages of the most thorough examination ever of this topic, which no serious scholar will be able to avoid.

So many of us come to the Viking Age through reading the Icelandic sagas. A new collection on Dating the Sagas, edited by Else Mundal and containing a paper by our alumna Slavica Ranković, will be essential reading for discovering what relationship, if any, the sagas of Icelanders have with the tales of their Viking ancestors.

Hverr sem þetta lesa, [þ]á berr hann prís (G 83 M).

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Exhibiting the Vikings

Back in September I had a great trip to Denmark, where I got a chance to visit the Viking exhibition, which has started off in Copenhagen, and will be coming to London in March, also the new 'conceptualisation' of Royal Jelling, and a re-visit to Trelleborg, which still defies belief with its sheer size and enigmatic purpose. I never did get round to blogging about that particular trip, though I am looking forward to comparing the Copenhagen version of the exhibition with its London cousin next year. We got all kinds of hints about the different interpretations, and different technologies to be used in London. I suppose one of the main differences will be that the London one will cost, while the Danes had the wherewithal to put the exhibition on for free (good old Danes!). It's interesting that the two museums are clearly also appealing to different constituencies, but more on that when I've seen the London one and can comment on both.

In the meantime, do read this blog by my colleague Nanette Nielsen, a 'descendant of the Vikings', who has clearly been inspired by her fabulous ancestors and especially their ships (the presentation of Roskilde 6 is undoubtedly the highlight of the exhibition).