Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language


From the time of their earliest texts in the vernacular, Icelanders were interested in the semioticization of their landscape, the mapping of nature into culture by inscribing it with memories from the settlement of the island during the Viking Age. Such a de-scription and in-scription of landscape with meaning occurs most prominently in The Book of Settlements or Landnámabók, a thirteenth century prose text preserved in several versions. This paper focuses on Icelanders' myth of origin as presented in the various Landnámabók redactions, and explores how a largely fictional medieval text can assert ownership and control over territory, and ultimately contribute to the creation of a legendary topography.

Author Biography

Verena Hoefig is Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches in the Scandinavian and Medieval Studies Programs. Her research focuses on the intersection of literature, material culture, and social history in Scandinavia from the Viking Age until today.


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