Friday, July 16, 2010

Travel Diary 16 July 2010

The last day of the conference is perhaps the most interesting for me. The presentations on bearded Norwegian women is not the only reason, but it is illustrative of the recurring idea of the north as periphery. Other papers:

Venetian castaways in far northern Norway
Late-medieval French perceptions of Scandinavia
Traveller's curiosity in the legendary sagas
Cooking implements in Old Icelandic literature

Conferences are good for making my research seem (to me) a little less niche, mad. There are others out there just as badly affected by academic obscurity as I am.

In Iceland, the periphery is expressed from an island point of view: once you are on an island, doesn't your perspective becomes circumferential? But in the medieval literature, it seems that the further north you go, the stranger you become.

This morning, after an evening of trains and flights, airport food and conveyor belts, I wake up in Uppsala, further north but closer to a centre: Scandinavian intellectual life; the Enlightenment; sunshine, even, the 'busy old fool' who woke me at 5 with the first traffic along Kungsgatan - they are all in Uppsala.