Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe

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Text editions : Norwegian

  • Text editionsNorwegian
  • Author:
    Gerven, Tim van
  • Cultural Field:
    Texts and stories
  • Text:

    Textual scholarship in Norway began with the activities of Rudolf Keyser at Christiania University. Prior to his development towards history-writing, Keyser inventorized manuscripts and edited the ancient laws of medieval, independent Norway (Norges gamle Love indtil 1387, with P.A. Munch, 3 vols. 1846-49), followed by editions of a mirror for princes (Speculum regale – Konungs Skuggsjá, with Munch and Carl Richard Unger, 1848) and, with Unger, some literary material (Olafs Saga hins helga, 1849; Strengleikar eða Lioðabok, 1850). Keyser’s alumni, such as Sophus Bugge, continued this editorial tradition: Bugge edited Gamle Norske Folkeviser in 1858 and the Edda in 1867 (as Norrœn fornkvæði). Unger, who studied and researched in Copenhagen, Paris and London in the 1840s, instigated the 15-volume Diplomatarium Norvegicum (1847-1900) and edited a number of “King’s Sagas”.

    The Heimskringla, composed in the 1220s by Snorri Sturluson, contained an extensive collection of sagas on the Norwegian kings from the days that Norway was still an independent state, spanning a period from the early 10th to the late 12th century. As such, the Old Norse kings’ sagas came closest to constituting a Norwegian national epic.

    The Heimskringla had first been given a Swedish/Latin edition in 1697 by Johan Peringskiöld; a new Danish edition had come out between 1777 and 1783. In Norway, the first translator who dedicated himself to the Heimskringla was Jacob Aall; his work appeared in two volumes in 1838-39, with Danish at the time still being the country’s official written language. Unger’s editions of the Heimskringla’s King’s Sagas appeared in 4 volumes between 1864 and 1868. Against the backdrop of the heated debates on language reform and the search for a Norwegian written standard, the Heimskringla also appeared in Landsmål, the most non-Danish variant: Steinar Schjøtt’s edition appeared in 1874-77. A second, revised edition in 1900 contained illustrations by leading artists like Christian Krohg, Erik Werenskiold, and Gerhard Munthe. A similar edition in Riksmål had appeared the year before, with translations by Gustav Storm. Both projects were subsidized by the Norwegian parliament in order to boost circulation. Consequently, these popular editions of the Heimskringla – owing both to their content and the language in which they were published – played their part in heightening national feeling leading up to the dissolution of the union with Sweden in 1905.

    Word Count: 380

    Copenhagen (DK)

    Paris (FR)

    London (GB)

    Oslo (NO)

    Bugge, Sophus

    Keyser, Rudolf

    Munch, Peter Andreas

    Storm, Gustav

    Aall, Jacob

    Munthe, Gerhard

    Krohg, Christian

    Unger, Carl Richard

    Werenskiold, Erik Theodor

    Schjøtt, Steinar

    Background notes on Sweden and Norway

    Language interest : Norwegian

    Text editions : Danish

    Text editions : Swedish

    Bugge, Sophus 1858 Gamle norske Folkeviser

    Keyser, Rudolf, Munch, Peter Andreas 1846 Norges gamle Love indtil 1387

    Keyser, Rudolf, Munch, Peter Andreas, Unger, Carl Richard 1848 Speculum regale – Konungs Skuggsjá

    Keyser, Rudolf, Unger, Carl Richard 1849 Olafs Saga hins helga

    Keyser, Rudolf, Unger, Carl Richard 1850 Strengleikar eða Lioðabok

    Bugge, Sophus 1867 Norrœn fornkvæði

    [various] 1847 Diplomatarium Norvegicum Unger, Carl Richard

  • Article version:
    1.1.1.1/a
  • Henrikson, Paula, Christian Janss (ed.); 2013. Geschichte der Edition in Skandinavien (Berlin: De Gruyter)


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    All articles in the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe edited by Joep Leerssen are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://www.spinnet.eu.

    © the author and SPIN. Cite as follows (or as adapted to your stylesheet of choice): Gerven, Tim van, 2018. "Text editions : Norwegian", Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, ed. Joep Leerssen (electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms, https://ernie.uva.nl/), article version 1.1.1.1/a, last changed 03-11-2018, consulted 19-10-2019.