Love and Emotions in Old Norse Literature

2nd Symposium of
the Project “Formulae in Icelandic Saga Literature”

Tartu, 28-29 January, 2022

Love and emotions did for a long time belong to the periphery of Old Norse scholarship. During the last decades this has changed. Since the 1990s several monographs and articles have been published within this field of research, concerning all Old Norse genres. Today, emotions, and particularly love, in Old Norse literature constitutes an active field of research. Old prejudices concerning dating, taste, and originality have been abandoned. New perspectives are used, and new conclusions have been reached. The present symposium is devoted to the theme of love and the depiction of emotions in Old Norse literature in all its genres, courtly translations as well as native sagas and poems. Both the role and meaning of love and the description of it will be in focus.

There will be 21 papers presented at the symposium as well as a general panel discussion on love and emotions in Old Norse literature and the research of it of today.

Keynote lectures:

  • Alison Finlay, University of London, Love in the eyes of poets: verse and prose in the poets' sagas
  • Sif Ríkharðsdóttir, University of Iceland, ‘Þeim var ek verst, er ek unna mest’: The Concept of Love in Old Norse Literature
  • Klaus Johan Myrvoll, University of Stavanger, The lovesick skald – from Kormákr to Víglundr
  • Brynja Þorgeirsdóttir, University of Cambridge, Prosimetric Saga Feelings: An Examination of Expressions in the Verse and Prose of the Íslendingasögur

Practical information:

Venue: Ülikooli 18 (University of Tartu main building) rooms 139 and 140.

The symposium will be held in hybrid form. It will be given on site in the main building of the University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18, rooms 140 and 139. Those who wish to participate online should use these links: 

Room 140: link to Zoom
Room 139: link to Zoom

International flights arrive at Tallinn Airport. Buses from Tallinn to Tartu pass through the airport, so there is no need to go to the bus terminal in central Tallinn. Buses leave the airport from 07.05 until 22.05, mostly every thirty minutes. The bus takes approximately 2.5 hours to Tartu. You will find the complete timetable of departures from Tallinn Airport to Tartu Coach Station on the homepage of Lux Express.

We recommend that you make arrangements for accommodation as soon as possible. We primarily recommend these hotels:

For other accommodation options, see also the homepage of Tartu.

To be allowed to enter Estonia you need to have completed a course of vaccination against COVID-19 within the last year. Full information about the requirements can be found here.

A full list of the papers can be found here.

Conference programme.

Note that the symposium starts with a reception on January 27th at 20.00 and that January 28th and 29th are full conference days. We thus recommend that you arrive in Tartu on January 27th and depart on January 30th.

If you have any questions, please contact the main organizer Daniel Sävborg ( or the department secretary Viivika Voodla (


Welcome to Tartu in January!

Daniel Sävborg, Professor of Scandinavian Studies
University of Tartu

Symposium Flyer

Cover image: Wikimedia Commons - Aska in Hagebyhöga gold foil figure 2020-12 photo Björn Falkevik