This book provocatively argues that much of what English writers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries remembered about medieval English geography, history, religion, and literature, they remembered by means of medieval and modern Scandinavia. These memories, in turn, figure in something even broader. Protestant and fundamentally monarchical, the Nordic countries constituted a politically kindred spirit in contrast with France, Italy, and Spain. Along with the so-called Celtic fringe and overseas colonies, Scandinavia became one of the external reference points for the forging of the United Kingdom. Subject to the continual refashioning of memory, the region became at once an image of Britain’s noble past and an affirmation of its current global status, rendering trips there rides on a time machine. The book’s approach to the Anglo-Scandinavian past addresses the specific impact of Nordic materials in framing conceptions of the English Middle Ages and positions the literature of medievalism less as the cause of modern Anglo-Nordic interests than as the recurrence of the same cultural concerns that animated early modern politics, science, and natural history. Emphasising multilingual non-literary traditions (such as travel writing and ethnography) and following four topics – natural history, ethnography, moral character, and literature – the focus of Northern Memories is on how texts, with or without any direct connections to one another, reproduced shared tropes and outlooks and on how this reproduction cumulatively furthered large cultural ideas.
somehow subversive. 3
The term ‘viking’ itself is contested, both within and without academic history and its related disciplines, and has become a shorthand for all inhabitants of Scandinavia during the period c . 750–1100. This period is popularly, and within academic discourse, described as the ‘Viking Age’. Again, there is little consensus over the duration of this ‘age’, and even over whether we should see it as a distinct phase in European history at all. It is, of course, a modern coinage. Some historians and archaeologists reject it entirely
Of course, the dynamic conjunction of Scandinavia with Britain predates even the medieval period. Migrants from what is typically called the North-west branch of the Germanic people inhabited both regions – in Britain beginning with the implosion of the Roman Empire and in Scandinavia much earlier – and they brought with them at least some common beliefs and practices. In early medieval Britain, such commonality was enforced, if also transformed, when Danish and Norwegian Vikings first raided, then settled, and eventually conquered their very distant
This book analyses the contemporary politics of the nation states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and the Home Rule territories of Greenland, Faeroes and Åland that together make up the Nordic region. It covers Scandinavia past and present, parties in developmental perspective, the Scandinavian party system model, the Nordic model of government, the Nordic welfare model, legislative-executive relations in the region, and the changing security environment. The Nordic states have a shared history, common linguistic bonds and a common state Lutheran religion. Of the six Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are mutually intelligible, whilst Swedish is an official national language in Finland. Turning to a brief overview of nation-building and state-building in the Nordic region, an obvious distinction can be drawn between those 'stateless nations' which went on to achieve statehood and the territories that have not achieved independence. The book presents a brief chronology of events in Norden up to 1922, when Åland achieved autonomy. In Sweden the historic phase of party-building produced a basic two-plus-three configuration and a party system based on five 'isms': communism, social democracy, agrarianism, liberalism and conservatism. By 1930 there was a bifurcated parliamentary left and a fragmented nonsocialist bloc consisting of essentially town-based Liberal and Conservative parties and a farmer-based Agrarian Party. Whilst acknowledging the limitations inherent in the periodisation of party system change, the book focuses on the extent of party system change since the 'earthquake elections' of 1970-73.
At the opening of his 1836 Adventures in the North of Europe , Edward Landor makes a perhaps surprising admission. ‘Quite aware that in the well-trampled field of literature I had no chance of making an impression as a sober, plodding traveller’, he says, ‘I imagined that by creating a more interesting wanderer … who should follow the path I myself had pursued, I might, perhaps, win over a few readers who would have taken no pleasure in a mere matter-of-fact, laborious narrative.’ 1 For Landor, his journey to Scandinavia and the experiences he had there were
‘Reluctant Nordics’, ‘reluctant Europeans’,
but ‘moral superpowers’?
Scandinavia has emerged as a moral superpower by continuously and consistently advocating compliance with global standards of conduct and by working
to develop, refine and maintain principles of mutual understanding in world
(Ingebritsen 2006: 2)
Writing in the 1980s, Bengt Sundelius noted that ‘history seems to indicate
that the Nordic countries have failed dramatically when they have tried
to undertake some major conspicuous co-operation projects’ (Sundelius
1982: 181). The
affirm the naturalness and decency that were thought to form the fundamental character of the British people. Yet from the perspective of the emergent modern world, Scandinavia and its peoples had – and could have – little in common with Great Britain. In social organisation and presumed personal and moral character, Nordic populations certainly were not comparable to the indigenes as they were described by missionaries and merchants elsewhere around the globe. But as with the people of those lands, the alleged deficiencies of the Nordic peoples still could be
of Anglo-Scandinavian England and Norse Ireland upon conversion-period Scandinavia, a factor often overlooked in favour of the traditional historical view of a mainly German missionary endeavour, despite the web of trading and property-owning links that had bound Scandinavia to the late Insular world since the ninth century. The Jellinge Stone proclaims in a royal funerary context – as the liturgical manuscripts proclaimed in the public liturgy – a new order, legitimised by its genealogical and locational past and by its economic, political and spiritual present
How this was done was contentious in
Britain: universalists wanted a comprehensive system in which there would be
high across-the-board taxation to pay for services that would be available for all.
The Scandinavian egalitarian social democracies did not tamper with the private
sector in the economy, but they taxed at a high rate, enabling them to pay for
social and cultural services, which were then made available for all. The objective
of Scandinavia was not collective ownership, it was collective protection.11
Continental European welfare states, or providential
This book presents a study of material images and asks how an appreciation of the
making and unfolding of images and art alters archaeological accounts of
prehistoric and historic societies. With contributions focusing on case studies
including prehistoric Britain, Scandinavia, Iberia, the Americas and Dynastic
Egypt, and including contemporary reflections on material images, it makes a
novel contribution to ongoing debates relating to archaeological art and images.
The book offers a New Materialist analysis of archaeological imagery, with an
emphasis on considering the material character of images and their making and
unfolding. The book reassesses the predominantly representational paradigm of
archaeological image analysis and argues for the importance of considering the
ontology of images. It considers images as processes or events and introduces
the verb ‘imaging’ to underline the point that images are conditions of
possibility that draw together differing aspects of the world. The book is
divided into three sections: ‘Emergent images’, which focuses on practices of
making; ‘Images as process’, which examines the making and role of images in
prehistoric societies; and ‘Unfolding images’, which focuses on how images
change as they are made and circulated. The book features contributions from
archaeologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists and artists. The contributors to
the book highlight the multiple role of images in prehistoric and historic
societies, demonstrating that archaeologists need to recognise the dynamic and
changeable character of images.