Old Norse Saga Literature

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The aim of this course is that the students should be familiar with Old Norse literary history, by studying both translated Old Norse texts and introductions to the subject. The main focus of the course will be the Kings' Sagas and the Sagas of the Icelanders.

Learning Outcomes


After successfully completing this course, students will have:

- Knowledge of the main characteristics of Old Norse literary history.

- Good knowledge of the principal texts of the Kings' Sagas and the Sagas of the Icelanders.


- The ability to comment on and analyse a selection of translated Old Norse texts.

- The ability to place these texts in the perspective of literary history.

General Competence

- The ability to understand literary structures in general.

- The ability to relate literary analysis to literary history.

- The ability to recognize and comment on literary traits in other types of texts.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
None. The texts will be read in translation.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
NOFI112 overlaps completely with parts of the previously taught course NOFI104 and credits will not be awarded for NOFI112 to students who have taken NOFI104.
Access to the Course
The course is open to all students with the right to study at UiB.
Teaching and learning methods


The teaching is planned with the intention that the students participate actively, and it is therefore expected that they carry out the assignments (written and/or oral) that will be set as a part of the teaching.

If less than five students are registered to a course, the department might reduce the teaching, please see the department's guidelines regarding this on "Mitt UiB". Regarding a course where this is a possibility, the students will get information about this at the beginning of the semester, and before the deadline regarding semester registration 1st February/1st September.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

1) Obligatory attendance at at least 75% of the scheduled lectures.

2) A written assignment of 4 - 6 pages (8 000 - 12 000 characters incl. spaces), not counting the list of works cited and appendices. If the written assignment does not meet the expected standards it must be rewritten.

3) If the student, in consultation with the lecturer, sets up an alternative syllabus to the standard one, the student must hand in and have the syllabus list approved within the advertised deadline.

The compulsory requirements are valid for the given semester.

Forms of Assessment
Oral exam.
Grading Scale
Grade scale A-F.
Assessment Semester
Reading List


A. Primary Texts

Four longer texts taken from the genres in the classic saga literature, such as:

- Two Kings' sagas

- Two Sagas of Icelanders

B. Secondary Texts

1. One longer or two shorter works on Old Norse literary history, approx. 300 pages.

2. A relatively short introduction to the sagas, e.g. chapter 8 by Else Mundal in Handbok i norrøn filologi, ed. Odd Einar Haugen, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget (2013).

3. A selection of articles and excerpts from monographs on Old Norse literature. Approx. 200 pages.

The department will announce the complete syllabus. There is the opportunity to change parts of the literature on the syllabus in consultation with the lecturer. In this case, the candidate must contact the course lecturer as soon as possible, and hand in and have the syllabus list approved within the advertised deadline.

Course Evaluation
Evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.
Examination Support Material
No examination support material is permitted.