On the 43rd pre-modern seminar at the University of Tartu on Monday, 4 May, PhD Ugnius Mikucionis from the University of Vilnius will give a talk called “Algirdas Julien Greimas and the Old Norse Dwarfs”.
The seminar will take place in the library of Skandinavistika (Ülikooli 17, 3rd floor, room 305) at 18.15.
Summary of the lecture:
“In this talk, I discuss some problems related to the studies of Old Norse saga dwarfs, and employ certain semiotic models or notions in trying to solve those problems (and emphasis lies on the word trying rather than to solve). Since I am mostly interested in the relationships between dwarfs and humans, attention will be mainly paid to the following questions: are dwarfs predominantly friendly or hostile towards humans, are the dwarfs merely stereotypical figures or fully developed personalities, and what kinds of powers the dwarfs exhibit in encounters with humans. I present three moments of Algirdas Julien Greimas’ theory, namely, his logical rectangle, actant model and modalities. Then I argue that the logical rectangle may serve as a fruitful tool discussing friendliness and hostility between dwarfs and humans. I claim also that the actant model may help us to discover both stereotypical and individual features of particular dwarfs. Finally, I hope to demonstrate that the notion of modalities vouloir > savoir > pouvoir (in this hierarchical order) may contribute to the discussion of the powers possessed by dwarfs and, more generally, to the discussion of the relationships between dwarfs and humans.”
The Pre-modern seminar is an interdisciplinary and informal seminar at Tartu University organized by the Department of Scandinavian Studies and led by Professor Daniel Sävborg. It was founded in 2010 and has so far arranged 42 meetings with talks by scholars on different levels, both from Estonia and from abroad. The focus is on pre-1800 issues of all kinds.
Everybody is welcome to attend!