ISSN / EISSN : 20292112 / 26690497
Current Publisher: Vilnius University Press (10.15388)
Total articles ≅ 12
Latest articles in this journal
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 136-146; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.7
Cultural-historical and literary gestalt in the Latvian short story “Saint Birgitta” (“Heliga Birgitta”) by Jānis EzeriņšThe Latvian author Jānis Ezeriņš’s (1891–1924) literary heritage includes, among other texts, the collection of short stories Fantastiska novele un citas (Fantastic short story and others, 1923). The collection contains the short story “Svētā Briģita” (“Saint Birgitta”), in which the author has used the image of a saint, which is very well known in the history of culture, literature and religion. The image can be related both to Celtic mythology and the historical Swedish personality, who had been the founder of Vadstena monastery and a literary author herself (approx. 1303–1373). The aim of the article is to explore the function of the image in the prose text by the Latvian author Ezeriņš and its connections with the cultural and historical personality of St. Birgitta. It is not typical of Ezeriņš’s writings to make such an explicit and direct association with this kind of legendary phenomena, therefore the inclusion of the text in the collection may suggest a connection between St. Birgitta’s individual destiny and enduring human values. This writer’s choice can also be seen as his own claim to international recognition.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 7-13; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.1
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 215-240; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.11
The article deals with implicative verbs, i.e., verbs that, both in their affirmative and negative forms, carry implications as to the factual status of their propositional complements, e.g. manage, forget, bother etc. Karttunen (1971), who introduced the notion, already pointed out that a verb that is implicative in one language need not necessarily have implicative counterparts in other languages. It is conceivable that some languages have semantic groups of implicatives not represented, or less well represented, in other languages, and this deserves to be investigated. In this article the authors offer just a very preliminary exploration based on three languages, one North Germanic, one Fennic, and one Baltic. They show that even such a small sample may reveal interesting differences. The authors also pause over certain general tendencies in the semantic development of implicatives. While most of the work on implicatives has been done in the tradition of formal semantics, the authors show that a more cognitively oriented approach (invoking mechanisms of subjectification) can yield valuable insights into the polysemy of implicatives.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 21-37; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.2
The twin sisters Herdís Andrésdóttir and Ólína Andrésdóttir were born on the island Flatey in Breiðafjörður, western Iceland, in 1858. Following the death of their father at sea three years later, the family was dispersed and the sisters did not see each other until half a century later, when they were reunited in Reykjavík. In the intervening years both sisters had become well known as capable verse-makers in the traditional style, but it had never, it seems, occurred to them to write any of their poems down, let alone publish them. They were encouraged by friends to do so, and in 1924 they brought out a collection of their verse, entitled simply Ljóðmæli (Poems). Their poetry was highly traditional both in its form, which principally made use of rímur and ballad metres, and in terms of its subject matter, dealing with nature, reflections on life’s joys and sorrows and so on. Ólína, like her cousin Theodóra Thoroddsen, also contributed to the revival of the þula, a form of poetry traditionally associated with children. The book sold well, and a second edition, with some additional poems, came out in 1930. A third edition was brought out in 1976, long after their deaths, containing much new material; this edition has since been reprinted twice. Critical reception was overwhelmingly favourable, both in the learned and more popular press. Though somewhat at odds with the literary establishment of the day, they nevertheless had several powerful supporters among the literary and intellectual élite, foremost among them professor Sigurður Nordal. Despite having been “world-famous in Iceland” in their old age, Herdís and Ólína are little known today, and their work – much of it very fine indeed – has yet to receive the scholarly attention it deserves.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 113-135; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.6
George Mackay Brown (1921–1996), an Orcadian poet, author and dramatist, was undoubtedly one of the finest Scottish creative voices of the twentieth century. He was greatly influenced by Old Norse literature, and this is reflected in his writings in many ways. The present article aims to trace and discuss Old Norse themes and motifs in Brown’s poetry. His rune poems, translations of the twelfthcentury skaldic verse, experimentation with skaldic kennings, as well as choosing saga personalities, such as Saint Magnus, Earl Rognvald of Orkney and others, as protagonists of the poems show the poet’s in-depth interest in the historical and literary legacy of his native Orkney and Old Norse culture in general.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 87-110; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.5
In this article, I argue that the portrayals of Sigurðr Fáfnisbani as a hero that emerge from the narratives about the slaying of the dragon in the Prose Edda and in the Saga of the Volsungs are rather different. A hero’s essence is not only about what actions the hero performs or what physical qualities the hero possesses, but also about what choices he makes and what values he adheres to. Therefore, one has to investigate why Sigurðr chose to agree to slay Fáfnir in order to be able to judge how heroic this deed was – or was not. A comparative analysis of the two source texts shows that while the main motivating factor for Sigurðr in the Prose Edda version of the narrative is the prospect of gaining Fáfnir’s treasure, the version contained in the Saga of the Volsungs gives a completely different picture. Here, the main motivation arises from Sigurðr’s own desire to avenge those who had killed his father, Sigmundr. In order to be able to wreak his vengeance, Sigurðr needs a suitable weapon, a sword without equal. Since Reginn is extraordinarily zealous in inciting Sigurðr to slay Fáfnir, Sigurðr promises to do so in exchange for a sword that Reginn – who is a smith with supernatural, dwarf-like competences – has to fashion using all his skill and effort. Additionally, avenging the injustice suffered by Reginn seems morally right, and is compatible with Sigurðr’s plans. The prospect of acquiring a hoard of gold may have contributed to his resolution, but in the Saga of the Volsungs it is not the main motivating factor for Sigurðr.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 241-272; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.12
The paper presents a large-scale investigation of attitudes towards standard and dialectal speech varieties in Lithuania. It aimed at, firstly, obtaining comparable data on assessments of speech variation under two methodologically different conditions: ‘unaware condition’ (the participants being unaware of the linguistic goals of the research) and ‘aware condition’. Secondly, it aimed at testing whether the two layers of consciousness yield two different systems of social values and how the evaluations accord with changes in language usage. The theory was developed by Danish scholars whose numerous experimental studies proved the driving force role of subconscious attitudes. The investigation closely followed the Danish methodology and was carried out in 23 secondary schools in 7 regions and the capital city of Lithuania, covering almost 1.5 thousand pupils in total. The regularity of the findings, i.e. the overall tendency to overtly valorise local dialects but subconsciously to downgrade dialect accented voices, confirmed that language awareness affects assignment of values to language and must be regarded as an important explanatory factor for the scenarios of language change.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 147-182; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.8
This article brings forward a set of examples from the “Swedological” literature that had its golden era circa 1930–1980 – i.e. non-Swedish interpretations of Swedish society (or features of it), done in order to fight ideological wars on non-Swedish soil, using Sweden as a case in point. The theme of Sweden as a peaceful nation, both in its internal developments and in its role in the world, was a crucial feature of the genre from the outset. It has been possible to interpret Sweden’s neutrality policies (including heavy production and exports of arms) in different ways. This has also been the case with Swedish attempts to take responsibility in the world, showing global conscience (e.g. through criticism against international bullies or through foreign aid). The theme of peaceableness has, over the decades, been a tool in fights between “Swedophiles” and “Swedoclasts”, both sides applying a certain “logic of debunkery” in their mutual attempts to disclose the opposite camp’s depictions as myths.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 183-198; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.9
Old Icelandic literature, genetics and historical demography regarding Sámi-Scandinavian early contactsThe spreading of Sámi interference features to the North Germanic languages is confirmed not only by the Old Icelandic sagas, which show us an absolute acceptance of the Sámi in the North Germanic society and marriages between the two nations, but also by the populational genetics that show that the percentage of the “Sámish” haplogroups (Y-DNA N1c, mtDNA U5 and V) among the North Germanic people exceeds considerably the percentage of the modern Sámi population, which indicates a language shift and assimilation of a part of the Sámi (especially of the Southern Sámi). Changes in the population structure caused by two pest pandemics (in the seventh to ninth and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) that affected Northern and Central Scandinavia to a much lesser degree could also contribute both to the spreading of the Sámi genes in Northern and Central Scandinavia and of the Sámi interference features in the North Germanic languages.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 39-60; doi:10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.3
In this article, the Old Icelandic poem Þrymskviða, which depicts an ancient myth about the theft and retrieval of Thor’s hammer, is compared with a number of later texts describing the same story – a late medieval Icelandic rhyme Þrymlur and a number of ballads from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, – in order to find out if it is possible to reconstruct an earlier, common Scandinavian version of this myth. While such a reconstruction appears to be plausible, none of the extant sources reflects the proto-myth in its complete form: although the oldest source Þrymskviða generally appears to be the most conservative among the different versions of this story, some of the scenes from the proto-myth have been preserved better in the later sources.