Thou Fearful Guest: addressing the past in four tales in Flateyjarbók. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia (Academia Scientiarum Fennica). 2011. 236 pp.
ISBN 978-951-41-1068-9 (hardback)
A stranger appears at the court of a Norwegian king known best for bringing Christianity to the North. Variations of this scene appearfour times in the fourteenth-century manuscript Flateyjarbók. Thou Fearful Guest analyzes how these episodes create meaning by their connections to custom, law, myth, discourses of historical and spiritual truth, typological understandings of time, and the historical context of the manuscript in which they appear. Thou Fearful Guest explores how and to what end medieval Icelanders thought about tales of heathen gods and heroes.
MERRILL KAPLAN is Associate Professor of Folklore and Scandinavian Studies at the Ohio State University. She writes on Old Norse myth and mythography, legend and folk belief, and folklore on and off the Internet. She is co-editor with Timothy R. Tangherlini of News from Other Worlds: Studies in Nordic Folklore, Mythology, and Culture.