Legends are traditional stories about extraordinary events, told as true, or, at least, believed by some to be true. Subjects range from the numinous (angels, ghosts, elves) to the horrifying (witches, werewolves, rat pizza) to the humorous, evoking wonder in various forms. They are told in a conversational mode by ordinary persons in everyday settings, and give rise to debates over the limits of knowledge, the merits of skepticism vs. faith, and the nature of reality. This course will explore Scandinavian legend traditions in their cultural and historical contexts, as represented in oral narratives collected by folklorists in the 19th and early-20th centuries, as well as more recent “urban legends” transmitted via electronic media, with readings of primary legend texts as well as secondary scholarship. SCAND C180 is a variable topics course that may be repeated for credit with topic change. Taught in English.
SCAND C180: Literature & Scandinavian Society/Scandinavian Legend Traditions
Instructor: Kimberly Ball