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Translation and cultural influence in Norway c.1100-1600

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Translation and cultural influence in Norway c.1100-1600

Rasmussen, Berit Elizabeth Sverdrup (2002) Translation and cultural influence in Norway c.1100-1600. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Three major disruptions marked Norwegian literary production, style, and language: the introduction of Christianity, the Black Death, and the Reformation. The influence of foreign writing in translation was pivotal to the transition between the pagan Viking Era and the Christian Middle Ages in the 11 th and 12 th centuries and to the passage from Catholicism to Lutheranism in the 16 th century. Translation in a medieval (and to some extent Renaissance) context must be understood as transfer of knowledge, the crossing of linguistic and cultural borders, including adaptation, paraphrase, imitation, summary, and compiling. The objective of the present work is to examine Norwegian medieval and Renaissance translations in a broader European context and emphasize how the encounter with the foreign helped shape the national. For centuries, long before the official introduction of Christianity, the people of the North had been in more or less regular contact with foreign cultures through commercial travels and raids. By adopting the Christian faith, Norwegians became members of an international community with long-established literary traditions and a legal system that was being revised and enforced throughout Christianity to harmonize secular and ecclesiastical life. Translated texts helped explain and consolidate the social conventions promoted by the new religion. The need for exemplification marked textual imports of all genres and translators played an important role in the reshaping of the Old Norse mentality. Religious and devotional material preceded the secular court literature from the French-speaking territories. Hagiographic material ran parallel to heroic tales as both genres helped illustrate the virtues of Christian life and needed only minor adaptation for a Norse audience. Over time, pagan literary conventions blended with those of the imported Christian material and resulted in a distinct literary style, adapting and recreating material of Breton, Arthurian, and heroic origin. Adventures of chivalrous knights (Marie de France and Chrétien de Troyes) and heroic kings (Einhard and Turold) were translated alongside famous legends of martyrs and biblical heroes. The break with the pagan religion was the first of a series of cultural disruptions in the North. The systematic encounter with the foreign gave rise to a new perception of self in relation to other . (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Rasmussen, Berit Elizabeth Sverdrup
Pagination:2 v. (xx, 1034 leaves) : ill., map ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):LeBrun-Gouanvic, Claire
ID Code:2027
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:24
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:24
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