German Philology (2015/2016)

Course code
4S00877
Name of lecturer
Maria Adele Cipolla
Coordinator
Maria Adele Cipolla
Number of ECTS credits allocated
6
Academic sector
L-FIL-LET/15 - GERMANIC PHILOLOGY
Language of instruction
Italian
Period
II semestre dal Feb 22, 2016 al May 31, 2016.

Lesson timetable

II semestre
Day Time Type Place Note
Wednesday 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall 2.6  
Friday 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM lesson Lecture Hall T.10  

Learning outcomes

AN OLD NORSE 'CASE STUDY' TO A COURSE OF GERMANIC PHILOLOGY - 'NORNAGESTS ÞÁTTR' (ECDOTICS, LINGUISTICS, CONTENTS AND STRUCTURE, HISTORY OF CRITICISM)

The course aims at presenting 'Nornagests þáttr' (Iceland, 13th-14th centuries) to undergraduate Germanic Philology students (Bachelor in Foreign Languages and Literatures). The several interdisciplinary approaches encompassed by Germanic Philology will be introduced on this textual instance

The course will be divided into THREE PARTS, each of them three week long.

FIRST PART. 'Nornagests þáttr': historical background, contents and sources, manuscript tradition, linguistic and stylistic features, textual criticism.

'The story of Nornagestr' should be read as first: this short Old Norse text is woven by intertextual references. We will see its manuscripts, through online digital facsimile editions, and analyse critical editions, in order to enucleate on the one hand the typical evolutionary Germanic features in its spelling, and on the other hand general phenomena in the Christian society, which promoted literacy.

SECOND PART. Old Norse literature: historical and social background

Many of the topics concerning this part (Viking expansionism and colonization of Iceland; conversion to Christianity and literacy; centres of culture and written document production) are thematized by our 'þáttr'.

THIRD PART. The 'Germanic' background

Germanic languages and cultures within the Indo-European group; classical sources; pre-literate traditions and the introduction of alphabet(s); writing: runes and the adoption of Greek and Latin letters; conversion into Christianity and manuscript culture; literary origins: Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, High and Low German; Romania Germanica.

Germanic linguistics will be introduced through selected passages of the work; the analysis will focus on phonology, morpho-syntax and lexis: Germanic and Old Norse common features will implement the students' knowledges of vocabulary and structures of modern languages (that is standard English or German).
Paleography will be introduced by reading the main handwritten witness of the 'Story of Nornagestr' (Reykjavík, GKS 1005, fol.).
Textual criticism and its procedures will be presented through the critical edition of 'Nornagests þáttr'.

Syllabus

AN OLD NORSE 'CASE STUDY' TO A COURSE OF GERMANIC PHILOLOGY - 'NORNAGESTS ÞÁTTR' (ECDOTICS, LINGUISTICS, CONTENTS AND STRUCTURE, HISTORY OF CRITICISM)

The course aims at presenting a short narrative prose, that modern editors called 'Nornagests þáttr', (Iceland, 13th-14th centuries) to undergraduate Germanic Philology students (Bachelor in Foreign Languages and Literatures).
In the instance of this text, the several interdisciplinary approaches encompassed by Germanic Philology will be introduced.
'Nornagests þáttr' is a small narrative work belonging to the so-called 'Old Norse tradition' (Iceland and Norway, 11th-15th centuries XI-XV): Old Norse is the earliest and most relevant literature of the Nordic branch within the Germanic 'family' : further branches of the same tree are 'East Germanic' (represented by the now extinct Gothic language) and 'West Germanic' (still alive with English, German, Netherlandish, that is Hollandish + Flemish).

The course will be divided into THREE PARTS, each of them lasting three weeks.

FIRST PART (lessons 1-12). 'Nornagests þáttr': historical background, contents and source arrangement, manuscript tradition, linguistic and stylistic features, textual criticism.

'The story [that is old Norse 'þáttr'] of Nornagestr' (according to the English translation of the title: Bibliography I, 3; see also Bibliography I, 1, pp. 124-69) should be read as first: in this short Old Norse text a great missionary king, an ominous unfamiliar 'guest', along with renown heroes, gods and minor supernatural beings, are at work; the text is woven by many intertextual references (among several interrelated literary works which echo mutually, within the literary and social development).
We will read the 'þáttr' from its manuscripts (through their online digital facsimile editions) and inquire investigate the critical editions (Bibliography I, 1, pp. 104-22), in order to explain on the one side the typical evolutionary Germanic features in spelling, and on the other side the general phenomena within the Christian society which prompted literacy.
'Nornagests þáttr' will be a 'case study', apt to show typical evolutionary features of the Germanic languages (Bibliography II, 4) as well as more general phenomena within vernacular literatures of the Middle Ages (which will be followed by modern 'national' literatures: Bibliography II, 5).

SECOND PART (lessons 13-24). Old Norse literature: historical and social background.

Many of the topics of this part (Viking expansionism and colonization of Iceland; conversion to Christianity and literacy; centres of culture and written document production; social classes and literary genres: Bibliography II, 2 e 3) are thematized by our 'þáttr': short quotations from the text will be read (in the original language, with the help of glossaries and final notes: Bibliografia I, 1, see also pp.299-344; I, 3). The text will function as an introduction into the second part of the course (concerning social and literary issues witnessed by the 'þáttr').


THIRD PART (lessons 25-36). The 'Germanic' background

Germanic languages and cultures within the Indo-European group; classical and vernacular sources (Bibliography II, 1, 4); pre-literate traditions and the introduction of the alphabet(s); runes and the adoption of Greek and Latin letters; conversion into Christianity and manuscript culture (Bibliography II, 5); literary origins: Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, High and Low German; Romania Germanica (Bibliography II, 4).

Germanic linguistics will be introduced through selected passages of the work; the analysis will focus on phonology, morpho-syntax and lexis (analysing the origins of terms as 'gestr', 'heita', 'konungr', 'taka', 'vera', and of characteristic features, as the development of definite article): Germanic and Old Norse common features will implement the students' knowledge of vocabulary and structures of modern languages (that is standard English or German).
Paleography will be introduced by reading the main handwritten witness of the 'Story of Nornagestr' (Reykjavík, GKS 1005, fol.), through its online reproduction (Bibliography: I, 2).
Textual criticism and its procedures will be presented through the critical edition of 'Nornagests þáttr' (Bibliography I, 1).


BIBLIOGRAPHY

I Sources

1. A. Cipolla (ed.), Il racconto di Nornagestr. Edizione critica, traduzione e commento, Verona, Fiorini, 1996, Medioevi. Testi 1

2. GKS 1005, fol. (Flateyiarbók): http://www.am.hi.is:8087/WebView.htm

3. Hardman, George L. transl. 2011. The Story of Norna-Gest, in Legendary Sagas of the Northland in English Translation: http://www.germanicmythology.com/FORNALDARSAGAS/NornaGestrSagaHardman.html


II Studies

1. CIPOLLA, Adele, Lezioni di Filologia germanica: Linguistica anglisti/tedeschisti: Schede per i corsi di Filologia germanica delle lauree triennali (pdf: elearning)

2. CLUNIES ROSS, M., 2010. The Cambridge Introduction to the Old Norse-Icelandic Saga, Cambridge, University Press

3. GREEN, Dennis H. 1998. Language and History in the Early Germanic World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Introduction, p. 1-8; Religion, p. 13-19, Kingship, p. 121-40).

4. LEONARDI, Simona, and Elda MORLICCHIO, La filologia germanica e le lingue moderne, Bologna: Il mulino 2009 (Cap. 1, parti 1-3, cap. 2, parti 1-3; cap. 7, parti 1-2; cap. 8, parti 1-3)

5. LUISELLI FADDA, Anna Maria, Tradizioni manoscritte e critica del testo nel Medioevo germanico, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1994.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam
Mid-Term Exam: Written Test in Italian on the 1st part of the course (it will take place after the 4th week)

STUDENT MODULE EVALUATION - 2015/2016