The reality of the fantastic combines a 'new philological' close study of a fifteenth-century Icelandic manuscript compilation of fifteen fornaldarsögur and riddarasögur, AM 343a 4to, with an historically-based analysis of the manuscript's various contents, demonstrating how fictions that are in many respects non-realistic can be made to yield up insights into the real-world concerns and interests of a group of fifteenth-century Icelanders. Both the methodology of this study and its conclusions should interest readers from diverse fields, including literature, history and manuscript studies.
Hans Jacob Orning is professor of medieval history at Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at University of Oslo. His ph.d. from 2004 was published as "Unpredictability and Presence: Norwegian Kingship in the High Middle Ages" (Brill 2008). His production includes numerous articles on high medieval Scandinavian political culture and on late medieval Icelandic manuscripts. He is currently together with professor Jon Vidar Sigurdsson leading a project called "The Nordic "Civil Wars" in the High Middle Ages in a comparative perspective", which is funded by Research Council of Norway and Centre for Advanced Research.