Katharina Heinz at the Arnamagnæan Institute, Copenhagen

"The mobility grant gave me the opportunity to focus on my research work in a motivating environment" says Katharina Heinz, a PhD fellow at the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo. She travelled to Copenhagen for a two month lond research stay. At the Arnamagnæan Institute she was able to study her research material, and experienced both a development of her academic skills and her scholarly network. 

Be inspired by her report and apply for an ATTR mobility grant.

Rhetorical strategies Konungs skuggsjá (The King’s Mirror): Studying material and textual relations in the manuscript culture of thirteenth-century Norway 

Thanks to the ATTR short term grant, I could go ad fontes in its most literal sense: to the medieval manuscript. The scholarship allowed me to spend two months of my PhD program at the Arnamagnæan Institute at the University of Copenhagen, studying the main manuscript of my research: AM 243 b a fol (ca. 1275), containing Konungs skuggsjá, an educational dialogue presumably written for the king’s sons.

In my project, I examine how the writer or scribe of Konungs skuggsjá made use of the rhetorical practices divisio, figura and ordo on both a textual-literary and material level. Visuality plays a crucial role in my approach, not least because it was considered as the main gateway to memory and knowledge in classical and medieval rhetoric. In extension, I am interested in the didactic aspect, that is, how these rhetorical practices served to facilitate a better understanding and learning of the content on the side of the readers and listeners.

Surrounded by medieval manuscripts

The research stay in Copenhagen was very fruitful and an inspiring experience on many levels. Most importantly for my project, working with the manuscript allowed me to consider material details such as size, the authenticity of the colors and the materiality of the parchment, which cannot be appreciated by digitized images.

The responsible staff at the Arnamagnæan Institute always was very generous and provided me with the manuscripts I wished to look at. In addition to the main manuscript of Konungs skuggsjá, I was able to get a glimpse at two other Icelandic Konungs skuggsjá-manuscripts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as well as the oldest manuscript from medieval Norway, the Old Norwegian homily book.

Surrounded by medieval manuscripts, the two-months stay gave me a change of scene which had a positive impact on my work. And so I ended up accomplishing a significant part of my analysis chapters during these weeks.

Reviving and expanding scholarly network

The ATTR mobility grant also enabled me to expand my scholarly network within the field of Old Norse studies. It was interesting to talk to other scholars from the field who work on different materials and approaches, as for example charters from a Danish monastery.

My stay at the Arnamagnæan Institute also was a reunion in a way. Through a previous workshop in 2017, I came in contact with PhD students at the Arnamagnæan Institute, and I was delighted to meet some of them again this year. Our daily conversations over a cup of coffee were a good way to exchange about our individual projects and to discuss the challenges each of us faces in her/his current phase of the Project.

I could experience a new academic milieu of Old Norse studies, where I heard about exciting ongoing projects and had access to the material artefacts, the manuscripts. Last, a small but very pleasing side effect of my stay in Copenhagen is that I finally improved my listening comprehension of the Danish language.

The mobility grant gave me the opportunity to focus on my research work in a motivating environment and to develop both my academic skills and network for possible collaboration in the future.


Tags: Heinz, Medival manuscripts, ATTR research school By Katharina Heinz
Published Aug. 3, 2018 8:57 AM - Last modified June 28, 2022 1:26 PM