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Peter Jorgensen

Blurred image used as background for stylistic purposes.
Professor of Germanic Languages and Linguistics, Emeritus

Peter Jorgensen taught for 36 years, first at the University of California in Riverside, and subsequently at the University of Georgia. He has taught a wide variety of courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, from Indo-European and Germanic linguistics to the literature and mythology of the older Germanic language areas.

At the University of Georgia he received a variety of awards for teaching and research, played an active role in the training of the most qualified undergraduates applying for national awards (e.g. Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Goldwater scholarships), and served for twelve years as the Director of the Foundation Fellows Program, the university's premier, undergraduate scholarship and enrichment program. He served for 23 years as teacher and Assistant Director for the University of New Orleans Summer School Program in Innsbruck, Austria.

His research has taken him to Iceland, Denmark and Austria on numerous occasions, and his wide-ranging fields of research have included the identification and editing of medieval Icelandic manuscripts (esp. the exempla translated from Middle English and Latin), the Bear's Son Folktale in Old Norse and Old English literature, the medieval German manuscripts of the pilgrimage of Arnold von Harff, computer-based instruction in German, the editing and translating of Old Icelandic sagas, 18th-century saga forgeries, and the linguistic classification of loanwords.


  • University of California, Riverside — Assistant Professor, 1971-76
  • University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 1976-2007
  • Princeton University — A.B. magna cum laude - German language and literature), 1963
  • University of Vienna — Fulbright Scholar - (German dialects), 1963-64
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, 1964-69 - Woodrow Wilson, NDEA, & Harvard fellowships
  • University of Copenhagen and Arnamagnaean Institute, 1969-70 - Danish Marshall Fellowship (Old Icelandic paleography)
  • University of Vienna, 1970-71 (research)
  • M.A. in Linguistics — Harvard University, 1971
  • Ph.D. in Germanic Philology — Harvard University, 1972



  • The Story of Jonatas in Iceland.  Reykjavik: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi, 1997 - A thorough study of the 500-year history in Iceland of a single exemplum, from the original translation, through a poetic (rímur) version and a prose reworking of that poetic text, to two different versions of an Icelandic folktale.  Every known ms. of each version, including those of the Middle English source, is examined, dated and related to every other ms.  The existence of over a dozen now lost mss. is postulated.  Edited for the first time are the rímur (unedited despite their being from the oldest group, i.e. prior to 1600), as well as the prose text derived from it.  Edited critically for the first time is the exemplum, in two different versions.  Every important variant in every known ms. is listed below each text.  The lost original of each version is dated and evidence is cited to identify the medieval translator of the Middle English text into Icelandic.  Analogues found in a number of Icelandic sagas lead to corrected datings for the composition dates of Gibbons saga, Viktors saga ok Blávus, Viktors rímur fornu, and Sigrgarðs saga frækna.
  • Valla-Ljots Saga. The Icelandic Text According to MS AM 161 Fol. With an English Translation, Introduction and Notes.  In Bibliotheca Germanica, Series Nova, vol. 1. Dudweiler, West Germany: A-Q Verlag, 1991 - A bilingual edition of the 13th-century Icelandic family saga, Valla-Ljóts saga, extant only in two 17th-century manuscripts, plus a facing English translation, introduction and copious notes to both the text and the translation.

Book-Length Edition

  • Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar,  in Norse Romance I. The Tristan Legend. pp. 23-226. Marianne Kalinke, General Editor. 3 vols. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1999 - An edition based on the oldest complete manuscript (AM 543, 4to) of the oldest chivalric romance in Scandinavian literature (1226).  This so-called Norwegian version served as the eventual source of a shorter prose version, a ballad extant in four redactions, and five published folktale versions.  It also influenced the style of later Icelandic romances as well as the subject matter of well known Sagas of Icelanders.  The lengthy text is accompanied by a facing English translation.


  • "The Life of St. Basil in Iceland,”  Gripla XXVI (Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum, 2015), pp. 57-79 - Basil’s Life in Icelandic (Basilius saga) is preserved only in badly damaged, often illegible fragments… two leaves from the first quarter of the 13th and three leaves from the first half of the 14th century.  A close Latin source had not been identified, but with the finding of an early 13th-century Latin leaf in the National Library of Iceland, that short text could eventually be linked to an unedited version of Euphemius’ 9th-century Latin translation (Vita Basilii) of the pseudo-Amphilocian Greek text.  Thirteen manuscripts of this version from the 9th to 12th centuries are identified in eight European libraries and shown not only to have a close textual similarity to each other, but also to the Latin leaf preserved in Iceland, which is edited here for the first time.  Each of the Icelandic fragments is then compared to the full Latin text and the comparison leaves little doubt that this Euphemian version served as the source for the Icelandic translation. Several passages are extracted to show the Icelandic translator’s art. --- Chapters 8 and 9 in the Latin vita, which are also preserved in the Icelandic fragments, contain the story of the Death of Emperor Julian (†363).  These could then be compared to two vernacular versions of the miracle concerning his death that are appended to Maríu saga, as well as to a related Latin Marian miracle preserved in the British Museum. It is demonstrated that neither Basilius saga, nor the Vita Basilii, nor the stand-alone Latin miracle could have served as the immediate source for the versions of the miracle in Maríu saga. Download "The Life of St. Basil....pdf"
  • “Ásmundar saga kappabana,”  Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages, vol. VIII, ed. Margaret Clunies Ross. Sydney, 2017, pp. 15-24 - Definitive edition of the skaldic poetry occurring in the late 13th-century mythical-heroic Saga of Ásmund kappabani. While the saga is ultimately related to the story told in the  9th-century Old High German Hildebrandslied, the stanzas go back to a source common to the ten stanzas found in this saga and Latin verses in the early 13th-century Gesta Danorum. Download "Asmund.pdf"
  • "The Neglected Genre of Rímur-Derived Prose and Post-Reformation Jónatas Saga,"  Gripla, Vol. 7 (1990), pp. 187-201 - This article argues for the establishment of a new genre of Icelandic literature consisting of prose reformulations of rímur (narrative, alliterative poems).  Over two dozen unedited, rimur-derived sagas are then identified and discussed. Download "Neglected Genre of Rimur-derived Prose.pdf"
  • "Four Æventyri,"  Opuscula, V, in Bibliotheca Arnamagnæana, vol. 31. Copenhagen, 1975, pp. 295-328 - Four badly damaged, fragmentary manuscripts with previously unidentified contents from the 14th and 15th centuries are examined and critically edited for the first time.  They contain one exemplum previously unknown in Icelandic literature (The Killing of Saracens by a Mountain), and supply the beginning of the B version of The Knight and the Elf-Woman that had been missing, plus a variant version of The Earl in the Bath, as well as those portions that had previously been missing from both the beginning and end of the fragmentary The Abbot and his Foster-Father.    Download "Four AEventyri.pdf"
  • "St. Julian and Basilissa in Medieval Iceland,"  Sjötíu Ritgerðir, ed. Einar G. Pétursson. Reykjavik: Stofnun Árnamagnússonar á Íslandi, 1977, pp. 473-480 - A previously unidentified, badly damaged leaf in the National Library of Iceland, written in Latin, is shown to contain a portion of the story of the martyrs Julian and Basilissa that was previously not known to exist in Iceland.  An analysis of the script prompts a redating of the ms. to the 13th century.  The text is critically edited for the first time. Evidence from the list of books owned by the monastery at Möðruvellir in 1461 is proffered to suggest that this Latin text had once been translated into Icelandic. Download "Julian and Basilissa.pdf"
  • "The Icelandic Translations from Middle English,"  Studies for Einar Haugen, edd. Evelyn Firchow, et al., 2 vols., The Hague: Mouton, 1972, pp. 305-320 - It is demonstrated that four different vellum manuscripts containing 29 different exempla all go back to a rare Middle English source that itself is a compendium of tales culled from the Handlyng Synne, the Gesta Romanorum, and an expanded version of the exempla of Odo of Cheriton.  The relationships of the Icelandic and Middle English mss. to each other and to their source are reconstructed, and the existence of a half dozen lost mss. is established. The original Icelandic translation is then dated to 1429-34 and the two men most likely responsible for the translation are identified.  Based on analogues in other Icelandic works, Viktors saga ok Blávus is redated to ca. 1440, Viktors rímur fornu to around 1450, and Sigrgarðs saga frækna to the 3rd quarter of the 15th century.  Download "Icel tsls fr ME.pdf" 
  • "Four Literary Styles in Three Centuries: The Old Icelandic Theophilus Legend,"  Samtíðarsögur, 2 vols. (Akureyri, 1994), I, 395-407 - Addresses the long unresolved, complex, Icelandic manuscript relationships of the life of the Virgin Mary and her attendant miracles.  By comparing the texts of the incorporated Theophilus legend with a very close Latin ms. found in the British Museum, it is concluded that all 5 ms. groups probably go back to a late 12th- or early 13th-century Icelandic source with the exception of what scholarship had considered the oldest version (I), which can now be said to derive from what had been considered a younger ms. group II.  The evidence also indicates that stylistic experimentation on a vernacular source was an accepted phenomenon already by the end of the 13th century. Download "Four Literary Styles.pdf"  
  • "Julian the Apostate and Manuscript Relatedness in Maríu saga,"  Across the Oceans, ed. Irmengard Rauch and Cornelia Moore. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1995, pp. 113-123 - The Marian miracle concerning the death of Julian the Apostate is used to shed light on the still unresolved manuscript relationships of Maríu saga.  Download "Julian the Apostate.pdf"  
  • "Producing the Best Text Edition: Herculean and Sisyphean,"  Scandinavian Studies. Vol. 65 (1993), pp. 329-337 - The interplay of text, notes (textual and variant apparatus), and introduction is discussed.  Problems of continuous letters and of dating manuscripts are reviewed.  The difficulty of determining the Urtext is examined and the importance of and frequent lack of interest in finding sources for Icelandic texts is noted.
  • "Orms þáttr Stórólfssonar,”  Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages, vol. VIII, ed. Margaret Clunies Ross. Sydney, 2017, 603-616 - Definitive edition of the skaldic stanzas found in the early 14th-century tale about Orm, the son of Storolf, which begins as a member of one genre (Sagas of  Icelanders) and ends as a mythical-heroic saga.  Download "Orms.pdf"          
  • "The 'Hall of Statues' Episode from the Norse Tristrams saga ok Ísöndar,"  Peter Jorgensen, trans., in The Romance of Arthur, 3rd ed., ed. Norris J. Lacy and James J. Wilhelm (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 288-89.        
  • "Ten Icelandic Exempla and Their Middle English Source,"  Opuscula, IV, in Bibliotheca Arnamagnæana, vol. 30. Copenhagen, 1970, pp. 177-207 - Two previously unidentified, badly damaged manuscripts of two leaves each are examined linguistically and dated to the late fifteenth century, the contents are identified as containing 9 and 3 exempla respectively from the Gesta Romanorum (including what is arguably the oldest fable in Icelandic literature), an extremely close foreign source is identified, and all 12 tales are critically edited synoptically with the parallel Middle English texts.  None of these tales was previously known in Icelandic literature.  Download "Ten Icelandic exempla.pdf"


  • "Illumination in a Manuscript of Stjórn."  Selma Jónsdóttir. Reykjavik, 1971, in Speculum, vol. xlviii (1973), pp. 370-375 - To the list of illuminations attributed by the author to the East Anglian school, the reviewer finds 14 additional manuscripts, primarily from the 14th century, that can be added to this stylistic     Download "Illumination in a Stjórn Ms.pdf"

Chapters in Books

  • "Hen-Thorir's Saga,"  The Complete Sagas of Icelanders. Ed. Vidar Hreinsson. Reykjavík, 1997. V, pp. 239-259 - Introduction to and translation of a late 13th-century, classical feud saga loosely based on historical events, that pits parvenu wealth and greed against the power of status and justice.
  • "Saga of Tristram ok Ísodd,"  Norse Romance I. The Tristan Legend, pp. 241-292. Marianne Kalinke, General Editor. 3 vols. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1999 - An edition based on the only medieval manuscript (AM 489, 4to) of the younger, drastically modified, Icelandic version of the story of Tristan and Isolde. 


  • "The Gift of the Useless Weapon in Beowulf and the Icelandic Sagas,"  Arkiv för nordisk filologi, vol. 94 (1979), pp. 82-90 - Unferth's often noted change of character in Beowulf has remained problematic for well over a century. Based on an examination of numerous Old Norse analogues, the gift of an eventually ineffective sword to the visiting bear's son hero by a king (or other host) is found to be an essential part of the narrative.  Since King Hrothgar had indeed given the visiting Beowulf a sword before the hero's underwater encounter, it appears that the author of Beowulf then tried to save the reputation of the king by having a less noble character donate the weapon that proves useless. In order to do so, the author was forced into imparting to Unferth an unmotivated character change from openly antagonistic to unexpectedly helpful. Download "The Gift of the Useless Weapon.pdf" 
  • "Beowulf's Swimming Contest with Breca: Old Norse Parallels,"  Folklore, vol. 89 (1978), pp. 52-59 - Over a dozen passages in Old Icelandic sagas are analyzed and shown to be analogues in varying degrees to Beowulf's swimming contest with Breca. Not only do they demonstrate the widespread nature of this story in Germanic literature, but (contra Puhvel) they also obviate the necessity of postulating a Celtic source for the version in BeowulfDownload Beowulf's Swim Contest.pdf"
  • "Additional Icelandic Analogues to Beowulf,"  Sagnaskemmtun. Studies in Honour of Hermann Pálsson, edd. Rudolf Simek, Jónas Kristjánsson, Hans Bekker-Nielsen. Vienna: Hermann Böhlaus Nachf., 1986, pp. 201-208 - Ten previously unidentified Bear's-Son analogues are found in a variety of Icelandic sagas. Download "Icelandic Analogs to Beowulf.pdf"
  • "The Two-Troll Variant of the Bear's Son Folktale in Hálfdanar saga Brönufóstra and Gríms saga Loðinkinna,"  ARV: Journal of Scandinavian Folklore, vol. 31 (1975), pp. 35-43 - A previously unnoticed bear's son analogue is identified in Hálfdanar saga and shown to be the most complete Germanic version, next to Beowulf, of the bear's son's underwater cave battle.  The saga is then linked to Gríms saga, not only through motifs held in common but also with a rare verbal parallel. The evidence suggests that the two sagas are related by virtue of indebtedness to a common source.  Download "The Two-Troll Variant.pdf" 
  • “Grendel, Grettir and Two Skaldic Stanzas,"  Scripta Islandica, vol. 24 (1973), pp. 54-61 - Stanzas 60 and 61 in Grettis saga, usually regarded as late additions to the saga, are re-examined and judged to be older than the surrounding prose, possibly as old as the mid 12th century.  All four vellum manuscripts place the "specially hafted sword" (heftisax/hæftmece, a nonce word in both Old Icelandic and Old English), in the hands of the cave monster, which would be unique in Icelandic and Old English versions of the Bear's Son Folktale.  Since none of the four manuscripts makes complete sense at this point, an emendation is proposed (employing only readings found at this place in each of the manuscripts), that places the specially hafted sword where it would be expected, into the hands of the hero.  Download "Grettir, Grendel and Two Skaldic Stanzas.pdf" 
  • "Literarisch verwandte Stellen in verschiedenen Fornaldarsagas,"  Fourth International Saga Conference (Munich: Institut für nordische Philologie der Universität München, 1979),  pp. 1-17 - Initially, two very different and hence presumably unrelated texts in Ála flekks saga and Hálfdanar saga Brönufóstra are shown to share their initial five lines virtually verbatim.  This raises the possibility that saga authors intentionally tried to disguise their sources, which would account for the dozens of different Bear's Son folktale variants found in Icelandic literature and for the scarcity of verbal parallels that have been found. Download "Literarisch verwandte Stellen.pdf"


  • "Hafgeirs saga Flateyings: An Eighteenth-Century Forgery,"  Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 76 (1977), pp. 155-164 - Uncovers the first known forgery in Icelandic literature.  A flyleaf bound in the anonymously written ms. Additamenta 6, fol. in the Danish Royal Library proclaims Hafgeirs saga to be a copy of a 12th-century Icelandic ms. that had come to Copenhagen in 1774.  This article shows the work (as well as the flyleaf) to be a forgery perpetrated between 1774 and 1776 by Thorlákur Magnússon Ísfiord, that he plagiarized from Hálfdanar saga Brönufóstra and archaized his text, and that he probably sold his forgery to the Royal Danish Historiographer, Bernhard Møllmann.  Download "Hafgeirs saga forgery.pdf"
  • "Thjóstólfs saga hamramma: The Case for Forgery,"  Gripla, vol. 3 (1979), pp. 96-103 - Although this anonymous saga appears in a standard edition of Icelandic mythical-heroic sagas, it is shown here to be a forgery perpetrated by an Icelandic student in Copenhagen (Thorleifur Arason Adeldahl) between 1772 and 1777.  His primary model was Grettis saga (it is shown that he was familiar with the rímur version), and the victim of the deception was the well known Danish scholar, Bernhard Møllmann.  The possibility of a conspiracy is considered, since it can be shown that Adeldahl and the forger of Hafgeirs saga both had the same preceptor at the University of Copenhagen during the same time period, both had worked as scribes copying Icelandic manuscripts for the same man (P.F. Suhm), and both chose the same victim. (Þjóstólfs_saga_hamramma)  Download "Thjostolfs saga forgery.pdf"


  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, William Morris, ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969) - Contributor for the Germanic etymologies.
  • "Kategoriale Überlappungen im sprachlichen Entlehnungsprozeß,"  Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik. Vol. 53 (1986), pp. 6-18. w. B. M. Ferré - Seven traditional categories of linguistic borrowing are re-examined.  It is argued that there are only four categories that are of fundamental importance, and that there are four others that must be regarded as secondary categories (the traditional "loan rendition" plus three new categories), each of which shares features of 2 of the fundamental categories.  The traditional term "pseudo loan" is shown to be actually a conflation of two different types of borrowing of the secondary type.  The term hybrid loan is shown to be inexact and is redefined as a combination of a native word with any one of the four primary and four secondary types.  The term double loan is examined and found to be both inexact and inappropriate for a synchronic analysis. Download "Kategoriale Ueberlappungen,pdf"
  • "A Combined, Basic German Vocabulary List,"  Seminar for Germanic Philology: Yearbook. Vol. 7 (1984), pp. 27-61 - Employing seven different frequency lists, each was assigned a weight and edited for consistency.  A master list of 3200 words was then compiled and listed in descending order of frequency.
  • "Die Dialektnotation in der Wiener Mundartdichtung,"  Erträge der Dialektologie und Lexikographie, ed. Herbert Tatzreiter. Wien, 1999, pp. 251-267 - The introduction describes the limited use of orthography to represent dialect features in the works of a number of 19th-century Viennese poets, including Klesheim, Castelli and Seidl.  Josef Weinheber's position as a transitional figure is described. The poems of 12 Viennese poets writing in dialect between 1957 and 1991, from H.C. Artmann to Ernst Jandl, are analyzed and the orthographic features used by each author to represent several dozen of the most important features of the Viennese dialect are compared. Differences between poets as well as inconsistencies in poems by the same author are brought to light.   Download "Dialektnotation in Wiener Mundartdichtung.pdf" 


  • "Die handschriftlichen Verhältnisse der spätmittelalterlichen Pilgerfahrt des Arnold von Harff,"  Zeitschrift für Deutsche Philologie. Vol. 110 (1991), pp. 406-421. With B.M. Ferré. - All twelve extant manuscripts of the pilgrimage of Arnold von Harff are examined and their interrelationships to each other, as well as to 3 mss. now considered lost, are determined.  In addition, the existence of at least 11 previously unknown manuscripts is adduced and their historical relationship to every other manuscript is determined.  Download "Arnold v. Harff Handschriften.pdf" 
  • "Die Bodleian Handschrift der Reisebeschreibung des Ritters Arnold von Harff,"  Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter. Vol. 52 (1988), pp. 221-225 - A 16th-century manuscript containing the lengthy, late 15th-century pilgrimage of Arnold von Harff, written in the Ripuarian dialect of German, is described and added to the list of the eleven manuscripts previously known to scholarship.  Reported on page 1 of The Christian Science Monitor, "The (mostly) true tales of a medieval traveler," Robert M. Press, February 28, 1983 and in Scala (Germany), No. 5 (Spring, 1983), p. 27.  Download "Bodleian Handschrift Arnold von Harff.pdf" 
  • "Probleme in einem ripuarischen Text des 15. Jahrhunderts mit der Beschreibung einer Pilgerfahrt,"  Beharrsamkeit und Wandel. Festschrift für Herbert Tatzreiter zum 60. Geburtstag.  Edd. W. Bauer and H. Scheuringer. Wien, 1998. pp. 123-131 - This article adds two additional passages to the list of places where Arnold von Harff had falsified his itinerary, namely his two-week trek across the Anatolian peninsula as well as the trip across the Balkans from Constantinople to the Adriatic Sea.  In addition, Arnold's indebtedness to an earlier pilgrimage by Bernhard von Breydenbach is shown to extend to several pictures as well as to an additional portion of text.  On the other hand, it is proved that Arnold, despite having access to and using a source for his list of Arabic words, did not employ that source in those places where it conflicted with the Arabic word-list that he himself would have compiled during his travels.  Download "Probleme in einem ripuarischen Text.pdf" 


Book-Length Software

  • Multipurpose German Drill Based on Progressive Vocabulary Levels. Source Code Listing and Instructor's Guide.  2 vols. Athens: University of Georgia Computer Based Education Project, 1985 - Forty hours of computer-assisted instruction for Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX 11/780 designed to promote facility with the most common German vocabulary items and with their attendant grammatical forms.  All the drills run off a database consisting of 2,480 high-frequency words (plus their important grammatical forms), divided into 24 groups in descending order of frequency.  Corrective feedback, help screens, and a scoring screen are available.
  • Grammar Lessons for Students of German: Source Code Listing and Instructor's Guide.  2 vols. Athens: The University of Georgia Computer Based Education Project, 1985 - Computer-assisted instruction in German for Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX 11/780. Three interactive tutorial lessons for German prepositions taking either dative or accusative objects, for learning the 16 strong adjective endings, and for reviewing the English grammatical terms relating to the noun phrase. Feedback, loop-back options, review sections, and scoring student performance are provided.


  • "Seven-Bit Computers, Dot-Matrix Printers and Germanic Characters,"  Seminar for Germanic Philology: Yearbook. Vol. 7 (1984), pp. 103-109 - For printers unable to send an eighth bit to a dot-matrix printer, textually embedded command sequences for 50 different characters in German, the Scandinavian languages, and the older Germanic dialects are presented for five different print modes.
  • "Versatility in the Design of Computer-Assisted Instructional Material,"  Die Unterrichtspraxis, (1984), pp. 104-108 - This article argues for the importance of incorporating two features in the design of computer-assisted instruction, extreme modularity and control over sequencing.


Journal Articles

  • "The North Frisians in the Federal Republic of Germany,"  Schatzkammer, vol. 8 (Fall, 1982), pp. 32-46 - The linguistic situation of the trilingual, North Frisian minority is described and their difficult situation attributed historically to the lack of political and economic power, limited geographic area and heavy emigration, lack of a widespread written standard plus strong dialectal variation, structural closeness of the competing languages, and general illiteracy in Frisian but not in the threatening languages.  In more recent times, the resettlement of German speakers from other areas after World War II, the influence of the mass media, and the growth of tourism have combined to pose a serious threat to the continued existence of North Frisian. Download "The North Frisians.pdf" 
  • "Introducing Scaldic Poetry,"  Seminar for Germanic Philology: Yearbook, vol. 3 (1980), pp. 68-75 - In order to make the complicated rules for writing skaldic poetry more easily understood, an eight-line stanza observing the rules of court meter is composed in English.  Then one word is changed in successive lines and the "domino effect" on the prosody is repaired in such a way that the resulting stanza then has the opposite meaning from the original.  To demonstrate other prosodic possibilities, two stanzas are composed in English in hrynhent meter and one stanza in alhent meter, prose word order is given for both poems, and the kennings are explained.

Encyclopedia Articles

  • Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia, New York & London: Garland Press, 1993.
    • "Exemplum," pp. 173-174.
    • "Gríms saga loðinkinna," pp. 243-244.
    • "Hálfdanar saga Brönufóstra," pp. 260-261.
    • "Rímur," pp. 536-537.
  • Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature, New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
    • "Stefán frá Hvítadal," pp. 551-552.
    • "Tómas Guðmundsson," pp. 191-192.
    • "Hallgrímur Pétursson," pp. 447-448.
    • "Matthías Jochumsson," pp. 288-289.
  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages, 12 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982--89.
    • "Ála Flekks saga," vol. 1, pp. 116-117.
    • "Drauma-Jóns saga," vol. 4, pp. 289-290.
    • "Flóres saga konungs ok sona hans", vol. 5, p. 108.
    • "Jarlmanns saga ok Hermanns," vol. 7, pp. 48-49.
    • "Konráðs saga keisarasonar," vol. 7, pp. 291-292.
    • "Samsons saga fagra," vol. 10, p.644.
    • "Sigurðar saga fóts," vol. 11, p. 290.
    • "Sigurðar saga þögla," vol. 11, pp. 290-291.
    • "Vilmundar saga viðútan," vol. 12, pp. 451-452.

Book Reviews

  • St. Oswald of Northumbria: Continental Metamorphoses. With an Edition and Translation of Ósvalds saga and Van sunte Oswaldo deme konninghe. M. Kalinke, ed., Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 297. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2005. Pp. xii + 207. --  Scandinavian Studies, vol. 78 (2006), pp. 483-485.
  • The Old Norse Poetic Translations of Thomas Percy. Margaret Clunies Ross. Making the Middle Ages, 4. Turnhout: Brepols, 2001. Pp. xiii + 290.  -- JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October, 2004, pp. 530-532.
  • Sharing Story: Medieval Norse: English Literary Relationships. Paul Beekman Taylor. AMS Press: New York, 1998. Pp. viii, 281. --  JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 99 (2000), pp. 423-425.
  • Mírmanns saga. Desmond Slay. Editiones Arnamagnæanæ, Series A, 17. Copenhagen: Reitzel, 1997. Pp. i-clxxi + 216. -- Scandinavian Studies, vol. 71 (1999), pp. 252-254.
  • Two Tales of Icelanders. Ögmundar þáttr dytts og Gunnars Helmings. Ölkofra þáttr. Ian Wyatt and Jessie Cook. Durham, 1993. --  JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 94 (1995), pp. 607-608.
  • The Saga of Gunnlaugur Snake's Tongue. E. Paul Durrenberger and Dorothy Durrenberger, tsls. Rutherford, 1992. --  Scandinavian Studies, vol. 66 (1994), pp. 120-122.
  • Idee. Gestalt. Geschichte: Festschrift Klaus von See. Studies in European Cultural Tradition. Odense, 1988. Pp. 722. --  Scandinavian Studies, vol. 64 (1992), pp. 133-137.
  • Elucidarius in Old Norse Tradition, Evelyn Scherabon Firchow and Kaaren Grimstad. Reykjavik, 1989.  -- Scandinavian Studies, vol. 64 (1992), pp. 140-142.
  • German-American Names, George F. Jones. Baltimore, 1990. --  The German Quarterly, vol. 64 (1991), pp. 231-232.
  • Kindheit und Jugend in der altnordischen Literatur, 1: Schwangerschaft, Geburt und früheste Kindheit, Gert Kreutzer. Münster, 1987. --  Speculum, vol. 65 (1990), pp. 445-447.
  • Westfälische Mundartliteratur des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, Lotte Foerste. Münster, 1987. --  JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 89 (1990), pp. 100-102.
  • Lexikon der altnordischen Literatur, Rudolf Simek and Hermann Pálsson. Stuttgart, 1990. --  Scandinavian Studies, vol. 62 (1990), pp. 343-344.
  • Viga-Glums Saga, with the Tales of Ogmund Bash and Thorvald Chatterbox. John McKinnell, tsl. Edinburgh: Canongate, 1987. --  JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 88,2 (1989), pp. 272-274.
  • Knytlinga Saga: The History of the Kings of Denmark. Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards. Odense: Odense University Press, 1986. --  JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 88,1 (1989), pp. 53-54.
  • Four Old Icelandic Sagas and Other Tales. W. Bryant Bachmann, Jr. Lanham: University Press of America, 1985. --  Scandinavian Studies, vol. 59 (1987), pp. 386-387.
  • Bibliography of Old Norse-Icelandic Studies. Marianne E. Kalinke and P. M. Mitchell. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. --  Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, vol. 62 (1987), pp. 141-143.
  • Höfische und altwestnordische Erzähltradition in den Riddarasögur: Studien zur Rezeption der altfranzösischen Artusepik am Beispiel der Erex saga, Ívens saga und Parcevals saga. Bernd Kretschmer. Hattingen, 1982. -- Scandinavian Studies, vol. 57 (1985), pp. 457-459.
  • Inversion im heutigen Englisch. Peter Erdmann (Heidelberg: Carl Winter-Universitätsverlag, 1979). --  American Speech, vol. 57 (Fall, 1982), pp. 218-220.
  • Old Icelandic: An Introductory Course. James Cathey and Sigrid Valfells (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981). --  Seminar for Germanic Philology: Yearbook, vol. 5 (1982), pp. 93-95.
  • Einführung ins Frühneuenglische. Manfred Görlach (Heidelberg: Carl Winter-Universitätsverlag, 1979).  --  American Speech, vol. 56 (Summer, 1981), pp. 133-135.
  • Miðaldaævintýri þýdd úr ensku. Einar G. Pétursson (Reykjavik: Stofnun Árnamagnússonar, 1972).  --  Speculum, vol. 53 (1978), pp. 612-615.
  • Medeltida Uppsalabibliotek, II: Bidrag till deras historia till 1389. Tönnes Kleberg (Uppsala, 1973).  --  Speculum, vol. 50 (January, 1975), pp. 132-134.

      Public Lectures

Arnold von Harff:  Medieval Pilgrim, Plagiarist, Linguist, Liar, Artist, etc.

In 1496 Arnold von Harff undertook a strenuous, 2-year journey to the three main pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages--Rome, Jerusalem, and Santiago de Compostela. But he also falsified his account with material from more than a half dozen other travelers, so that separating fact from fiction becomes an intriguing detective story.

The lecture is illustrated with several dozen pictures stemming from the pilgrim's original color drawings.

The Age of the Vikings                                                

Between 790 AD and 1050 AD Vikings sailed from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, terrorizing the inhabitants of Russia, central and southern Europe (esp. the British Isles), Greenland, and even North America. Besides the standard "pillaging, looting, and burning," the Vikings often settled large tracts of land, where they engaged in farming and trade--often so successfully that they gave their name to Normandy in France and possibly even to Russia. Examination of the causes for the rise and demise of the Viking Age.

Richly illustrated with maps and pictures of artifacts from the Viking Age.

Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice

With a population of only 330,000, you will be surprised at the mark in the world that this small country just below the Arctic Circle has made.

Beowulf:  The Film, the Old English Epic, and its Fairy Tale Roots

 A mildly scholarly look at the famous Old English epic, a mildly sarcastic comparison to the 2007 Hollywood film version, and a mildly serious description of the age-old fairy tale (honest!) that gave rise to much of the Old English epic.

Scandinavian Mythology 

Except for a small number of people in Iceland, no one believes in the gods of Viking-age Scandinavia, but the myths surrounding them are as entertaining as those that have come down to us from Greek and Roman mythology. This lecture will describe how the people of medieval Scandinavia viewed the universe, how they thought world was created, and how it was destined to end. There will be stories about Odin, Thor, Freyja, Loki and other deities that illustrate their functions in the pantheon of Norse gods.

Where possible, fanciful pictures will be used to illustrate an otherwise factual, informative presentation.

How to Speak Southern                                             

 A mildly scholarly introduction to what makes Southern English different from other American dialects. Included will be a brief overview of the main dialect areas of the United States and a short historical explanation of how the primary dialect differences arose.

Globalization and Language

It is expected that globalization, both economic and cultural, will continue to increase, and that one very important component of culture, language, will be impacted as well.

Initially, language influence due to 18th- and 19th-century globalization, usually referred to as colonization, will be compared to the current wave of language spread and language change.  Which of today's languages will increase in their number of speakers and in importance, and which will lose?  Will some languages die out?  Which languages might be best to learn as a second or third language, and what is the foreign-language teaching situation like in different countries?  What are the changes that will probably take place in the international form of English?  These and other questions will be addressed in this illustrated lecture.

     Courses Taught


  • Comparative Indo-European
  • Middle High German
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Germanic Mythology
  • Germanic Heroic Literature
  • The Linguistic Structure of German
  • The History of the German Language
  • Advanced Composition and Conversation
  • German for Reading Knowledge
  • 1st- and 2nd-year German
  • Intensive Introductory German
  • Introduction to German Literature
  • Graduate and undergraduate directed-studies courses


Graduate Level

  • The Linguistic Structure of German
  • Contrastive Grammar: German/English
  • German Dialectology
  • Old Norse
  • Gothic
  • Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian for Reading Knowledge
  • The History of the German Language

Undergraduate Level

  • First-, second-, and third-year German
  • Intermediate German (Honors)
  • German Diction
  • German for Reading Knowledge
  • The Linguistic Structure of German
  • Contrastive Grammar: German/English
  • Old Norse
  • Germanic Heroic Literature (Honors)
  • Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian for Reading Knowledge
  • The History of the German Language
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Linguistics (Honors)
  • Viking Civilization


  • Numerous undergraduate and graduate directed studies courses
  • Numerous Honors and ASIP seminars





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