Writing (hi)stories: HM Queen Margrethe II Distinguished Research Project on the Danish-Icelandic reception of Nordic antiquity

Since 1 April 2019 I am working on the project entitled "Writing (hi)stories: Danish Antiquarians and Their Reception of Old Norse Literature (1658–1814)". The project examines the scholarly reception of Old Norse literature before N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783–1872). It takes its point of departure in the scholarly work of Thormodus Torfæus (1636–1719), the Royal Historian of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway and the author of "Series dynastarum et regum Daniæ", and Thomas Bartholin (1659–1690), the Royal Antiquarian and author of "Antiqvitatum Danicarum". This project examines not only their approaches to the historicity of Old Norse legendary sagas but also the influence they had on later generations of Danish-Icelandic scholars.

The project is funded by Carlsberg Foundation as HM Queen Margrethe II Distinguished Research Project on the Danish-Icelandic reception of Nordic antiquity.  It is part of the collaboration between Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark, National Museum of Iceland, and University of Iceland. The project covers the scholarly beginnings of the reception of Old Norse literature, as well as the most recent examples of the popular reception. It consists of two sub-projects: Writing (hi)stories by dr. Katarzyna Anna Kapitan and Writing futures by dr. Dale Kedwards.

Research outputs

Conferences and seminars:​

  • “Same manuscript, different reading: The making and remaking of a saga book” presentation at the International Medieval Congress 2019, University of Leeds (England), July 2019.

  • “When a king of Norway became a king of Russia:Transmission and reception of legendary sagas in early-modern Scandinavia” public lecture at a research seminar organized by the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik (Iceland), November 2019.

  • “Writing histories: Legendary sagas and early modern Danish historiography,” presentation at the 2nd workshop of Network of Early Career Researchers in Old Norse, University of Bergen, Bergen (Norway), November 2019.


  •  “Revising Danish royal genealogies Anno 1664,”  the Arnamagnæan manuscript of the month, September 2020 published on manuscript.ku.dk, also in Danish: “Den Danske Kongerække Revideret Anno 1664.”

  • “Writing histories: Legendary sagas and early modern Danish historiography.” In: Selected presentations from the network of early career researchers in Old Norse (2017–2019), edited by Kapitan KA, Leslie-Jacobsen HF, Murphy LJ, Nygaard S, Rogers B (School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University: Aarhus)

  • “When a King of Norway Became a King of Russia: Danish Historiography and Early Transmission and Reception of Hrómundar saga Greipssonar.” Scandinavian Studies (Accepted for publication). [30 pp]

  • “Between truth and fiction, or historiæ mediæ, sive vero falsoque mixtæ: Legendary sagas and their reception in eighteenth-century Denmark", Arkiv för Nordisk Filologi 134 (2019), pp. 103–129.

Press and social media


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