Urban Literacy in the Nordic Middle Ages, ed. Kasper H. Andersen, Jeppe Büchert Netterstrøm, Lisbeth M. Imer, Bjørn Poulsen, and Rikke Steenholt Olesen (Turnhout, 2021: USML 53), xvi+465 pp. ISBN 978-2-503-59674-7.
This volume approaches the theme of ‘urban literacy’ in the Nordic Middle Ages from various angles of research, including history, archaeology, philology, and runology.
This volume explores literacy in the medieval towns of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and aims to understand the extent to which these medieval urban centres constituted a driving force in the development of literacy in Nordic societies generally.
As in other parts of Europe, two languages — Latin and the vernacular — were in use. However, the Nordic area is also characterised by its use of the runic alphabet, and thus two writing systems were also in use. Another characteristic of the North is its comparatively weak urbanization, especially in Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
Literacy and the uses of writing in medieval towns of the North is approached from various angles of research, including history, archaeology, philology, and runology. The contributions cover topics related to urban literacy that include both case studies and general surveys of the dissemination of writing, all from a Northern perspective. The thematic chapters all present new sources and approaches that offer a new dimension both to the study of medieval urban literacy and also to Scandinavian studies.
Kasper H. Andersen, Jeppe Büchert Netterstrøm, Lisbeth M. Imer,
Bjørn Poulsen, and Rikke Steenholt Olesen, “Introduction”
Lisbeth M. Imer, “Runic Writing in Danish Medieval Towns”
Rikke Steenholt Olesen, “Medieval Runic Latin in an Urban Perspective”
Elise Kleivane, “Roman-Script Epigraphy in Norwegian Towns”
Kristel Zilmer, “‘Fann ek bein …’ – ‘I Found a Bone’: Runic Artefacts as Material Evidence of Writing in Medieval Norwegian Towns”
Gitte Tarnow Ingvardson, “(Il)literacy Reflected on Scandinavian Viking Coins”
Janne Harjula, Visa Immonen, and Kirsi Salonen, “Medieval Literacy in Turku: Material and Linguistic Remains from a Multilingual Townscape”
Morten Søvsø, “Searching for Urban Literacy in the Archaeological Record”
Jeppe Büchert Netterstrøm, “Civic Literacy in Late Medieval Ribe”
Kasper H. Andersen, “Markers of Civic Literacy in Medieval Danish Towns”
Bjørn Poulsen, “Putting Town Life in Writing: Medieval Danish Town Scribes”
Theresia Pettersson, “Variance and Change in Civic Literacy in Late Medieval Stockholm: The Liber Memorialis”
Johnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen, “The Dominican Order and Urban Literacy in Medieval Scandinavia”
Andreas Manhag, “Lost Notes and Hidden Spells: Scraps of Worldly Literacy from the Choir Stalls in Lund Cathedral”