Showing posts from September, 2014

Virgin Spring: Trigger Warning

Films about the Vikings, and about the Viking Age, typically are painful for scholars in the field of Viking history, medieval European archaeology, or saga scholarship to watch, because they are so full of clichés and half-truths and stereotypes, handed down as some sort of unquestioned fact. So when I was asked to select a series of films about the Vikings to show at my work, it presented genuine difficulties. To me the Viking Age is something reverent, and real, vibrant and important, a time of great change, when thoughtful people made difficult choices, but so many films about the Vikings make the Viking Age seem simple or thoughtless. So anyhow, I settled on what is perhaps a bizarre array of films, from different time periods, different countries, and different genres. My criteria is that each one be a thought-provoking film, rather than meaningless repetition of clichés, or, barring that, that I could find a way to talk about them that added some complexity to them. As it has

Edvard Munch

Since starting my job at the Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University, I've learned a lot about Norwegian culture. I guess I has heard of almost everything I've encountered here about Norwegian culture and history, but if it didn't resonate with Icelandic history and culture, It didn't really sink in for me. So this has been quite a learning curve. One thing I'm leaning more about at the moment is Norwegian art, specifically Edvard Munch, because of a possible exhibition for spring 2016. I just read one rather cynical article, which claims Munch's diaries, which portray a conflicted, angry, and sensitive person, were always intended to be printed, and were simply part of his marketing strategy. I refuse to believe that; there are very few people able to be so calculating and objective about their own lives. I've also been reading about the terrible response his art got initially, even The Scream; people said that his style was childish