|2021/2023||Helen F. Leslie-Jacobsen||Researcher||University of Bergen (UiB)|
The Faroe Islands are a tiny archipelago nation in the North Atlantic Ocean with a truly unique story-telling heritage; this project explores how this small community preserved and transmitted some of the most exciting and enduring stories from Germanic legends. The Faroese medieval heroic ballads preserve an enormous amount of material from the story-world of the medieval north. Despite this, they remain hugely under-researched and are inaccessible to most researchers.
The project 'Ballads Across Borders: The Faroe Islands in the Norse Story-Telling World (BARD)' will conduct ground-breaking research on the medieval heroic Faroese ballads from the perspective of Old Norse philology, thereby locating the Faroese ballads in the Norse story-telling world. By doing so, the project will uncover new material about several of the preeminent heroes of the north: Sigurðr Fáfnisbani (the mighty dragon slayer, called Sjúrður Fávnisbani in Faroese) and his mysterious and violent lover, Brynhildr Buðladóttir, not only updating but significantly extending previous research. The subject of the project is three, very long, medieval Faroese ballads called Regin smiður, Brynhildar táttr and Høgna táttr (known collectively as the Sjúrðar kvæði, ‘ballads about Sigurðr’), which provide some of the preeminent material from the medieval North concerning the Völsung legend, stories about the hero Sigurðr Fáfnisbani and his violent, mysterious and powerful lover, Brynhildr Buðladóttir.
The aims of the project are to determine how the Faroese ballads relate to and are located in the Norse and wider Germanic story-telling world, and to integrate the Faroese ballads into the relevant research fields that discuss story-telling traditions of the North. The project will also make all of the Faroese ballad material about Sigurðr Fáfnisbani available in English translation, to aid other scholars in building on the project’s findings.