Publication: Sagas and Genre
The latest issue of DSH journal (38:3) is out and there our article describing some experiments with using network analysis and visualisation to all Old Norse saga manuscripts. Can co-occurrence of texts in manuscripts tell us something about their genre affiliation, can it help us understand how past communities understood these texts? We think so. If you are curious to know why and how, check out our open access study: https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqad013
This study applies statistical approaches to the analysis of the genre relationships of Old Norse-Icelandic literature in order to expand our understanding of the relationships between works, their transmission, and their possible modes of reception, as manifested in the extant manuscripts. This article contributes to the ongoing discussion of the genre boundaries of Old Norse-Icelandic literature and presents an alternative method of engaging with this material in the form of computer-assisted analysis, i.e. data visualization and network analysis. Using data collected from major online databases of Old Norse-Icelandic manuscripts, we present the most complete to date network of co-occurrences in manuscripts of works belonging to a number of literary genres. The present study empirically demonstrates the manifoldness of the connections between the Old Norse-Icelandic works which transcend traditional scholarly genre boundaries. The study identifies two main communities within the network: a community of romances, or works of narrative fiction, which includes mainly legendary sagas (fornaldarsögur) and chivalric sagas (riddarasögur), and a community of historicizing narratives, or pseudo-history, which includes mainly sagas of Icelanders (Íslendingasögur) and kings’ sagas (konungasögur).