NFI4112 – Scaldic Poetry and Grammatical Literature

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course gives an introduction to Old Norse rhetorics and poetics – grammatica – in Iceland between c. 1150 to 1400. The students will study the Old Norse texts in original language. The course will also provide a European background for the medieval study of grammatica as well as rhetorical and poetical praxis. The European tradition will be studied in translations from the Latin sources. A major focus will be on the relation between the introduction of European traditions and the Old Norse poetical traditions.

The course syllabus will differ; the reading list will consist of literature amounting to approximately 1000 pages.

Learning outcome

Students are to develop a capacity for reading Old Norse grammatical texts in original.

A central learning outcome will provide the students with a good understanding of the broad grammatical tradition that developed in Iceland in the 12th to 14th century.

Students are also to be able to relate the Old Norse texts to the European grammatical traditions.

The course will train the capacity for analysis and independent thinking when it comes to primary sources.

The students will be given insights into what it entails to do research in the field of rhetorics and poetics and thus be provided a basis on which to build their own work in the field.

The course will enable the students to summarize the research debate in an independent, well considered way, both orally and in writing.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The minimum number of attendants for the course is 5.


Recommended previous knowledge

NFI1101 – Norrøn grammatikk og eldre språkhistorieNFI4120 – Old Norse - language and texts or equivalent knowledge.

Students who have not taken Old Norse grammar and language history before should take NFI4120 – Old Norse - language and texts parallel to this course.


The teaching will to a great extent be group teaching in form of seminars and individual tutorials, 20 hours in all. Active participation is required.


The student’s work is assessed by a semester assignment.

The subject of the assignment is to be agreed between the student and the teacher in co-operation.

The assignment shall comprise 10 pages à 2300 keystrokes, excluding spaces.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2020

The course is given irregularly


Autumn 2020

Same semester as teaching is given

Teaching language