Magic, memory and folklore in Scandinavia: interview with Stephen Mitchell


Stephen Mitchell is a professor of Scandinavian and Folklore at Harvard University, EUA. He is also Curator of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. Together with colleagues from the University of Aarhus, he annually teaches in and directs Harvard’s Viking Studies Program in Scandinavia. He is the author of Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages (2011), Heroic Sagas and Ballads (1991), Job in Female Garb: Studies on the Autobiography of Agneta Horn (1985), and co-editor of Handbook of Pre-Modern Nordic Memory Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches (2018); Old Norse Mythology - Comparative Perspectives (2017), Minni and Muninn: Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture (2014); Memory and Remembering: Past Awareness in the Medieval North (2013).


Bibliographical references:

BENDIX, Regina. In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997.

GARDELA, Leksek. (Magic) Staffs in the Viking Age. Wien: Verlag Fassbaender, 2016.

GLAUSSER; PERNILLE; MITCHELL (Ed.). The Handbook of Pre-Modern Memory Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018.

HEIDE, Eldar. Gand seid og åndevind. Doctoral thesis, University of Bergen, 2006.

HERMAN, Pernille; MITCHELL, Stephen (Eds). Memory and Remembering: Past Awareness in the Medieval North. Scandinavian Studies vol. 85, n. 3, 2013.

HEUSLER, Andreas. Die gelehrte Urgeschichte im altisländischen Schrifttum. Berlin: Preuß. Akad. der Wiss, 1908.

MITCHELL, Stephen. Leechbooks, Manuals, and Grimoires, ARV 70, 2015, p. 57-74.

MITCHELL, Stephen. Continuity: Folklore’s Problem Child? In: SÄVBORG, Daniel & BEK-PEDERSEN, Karen (Eds.). Folklore in Old Norse – Old Norse in Folklore. Nordistica Tartuensia 20, 2014, p. 41-58.

MITCHELL, Stephen. The Mythologized Past: Memory and Politics in Medieval Gotland. In: HERMANN; MITCHELLL; ARNÓSDDÓTTIR (Eds.). Minni and Muninn: Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture. London: Brepohls, 2014, p. 155-74.

MITCHELL, Stephen. Memory, Mediality and "Performative Turn": recontextualizing, remembering in Medieval Scandinavia. Scandinavian Studies 85, 2013, pp. 282-305.

MITCHELL, Stephen. Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

MITCHELL, Stephen. Magic as Acquired Art and the Ethnographic Value of the Sagas. In: ROSS, Margaret Clunies (ed.). Old Norse Myths, Literature and Society. Viborg: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2003, p. 132-52.

MITCHELL, Stephen. The Whetstone as Symbol of Authority in Old English and Old Norse. Scandinavian Studies 57, 1985, p. 1-31.

PRICE, Neil. The Viking Way: Religion and War in Late Iron Age Scandinavia. Uppsala: Uppsala University, 20002.

SIGURĐSSON, Gísli. The medieval icelandic saga and oral tradition: a discourse on method. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press, 2004.

SILVA, Sara Graça da; TEHRANI, Jamshid. Comparative Phylogenetic Analyses Uncover the Ancient Roots of Indo-European Folktales. Royal Society Open Science vol. 3, n. 1, 2016.

SOLLI, Brit. Seid. Myter, sjamanisme og kjønn i vikingenes tid. Oslo: Pax Forlag A/S, 2002

TURVILLE-PETRE, Gabriel. Myth and Religion of the North. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964.

ZIOLKOWSKI, Jan. Fairy Tales from before Fairy Tales: The Medieval Latin Past of Wonderful Lies. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2007.