Die Isländersagas in Corvey

15. bis 18. September 2011

Die einzigartigen Sagas sind Islands wichtigster Beitrag zur Weltliteratur, bis heute finden ihre Stoffe und Motive Eingang in die Künste der Gegenwart: Nirgendwo im Mittelalter entstand eine solch spannende, in der Volkssprache abgefasste Erzählliteratur wie auf Island. Mit einem großen Lesefest, ergänzt um eine internationale Literaturkonferenz, wird im Schloß Corvey an vier Tagen die Neuübersetzung der Isländersagas – vorgelegt von den besten literarischen Übersetzern und wissenschaftlich ediert von führenden Skandinavisten – als Premiere in inszenierten Lesungen vorgestellt. Die Sagas handeln von Liebe, Recht, Macht und Versöhnung, sie berichten von der Entstehung und Bewältigung von Krisen. Wiedergänger und  Fylgjen treten auf und bringen Unheil, viele eigenwillige Frauengestalten werden porträtiert – insgesamt werden großartige Charaktere gezeigt, in einer lebendigen, kraftvollen Sprache, die Flüche nicht scheut, starke Dialoge aufweist und kunstvoll verschiedene Sprachebenen verbindet. Über die Kultur der Sagas, den historischen Kontext,  das Recht und die Skaldenkunst sprechen Wissenschaftler und Künstler.

Island ist Ehrengast der diesjährigen Frankfurter Buchmesse. Ansgar, ‹Apostel des Nordens›, stand der Klosterschule in Corvey vor, bevor er als Erzbischof von Hamburg-Bremen mit der Christianisierung Dänemarks und Schwedens begann und später den geflohenen und getauften Dänenkönig Harald I. in seine Heimat zurückbegleitete. Kurze Zeit später setzt die Handlung der Isländersagas ein.

English version

This year Iceland is the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. One highlight of the guest country’s appearance will be the Icelandic sagas of the Middle Ages, which are to be published in a comprehensive new translation in autumn.  And from 15th to 18th September a great festival of readings at the Schloss Corvey, supported by an international literary conference, will present scenic readings of the most significant and extraordinary of the newly-translated sagas for the first time. LiteraturbüroOstwestfalen-Lippe is running the event in cooperation with “Fabulous Iceland” as an addition to their literary and music festival Wege durch das Land. The sagas will be published by the S. Fischer Verlag.

These unique sagas are Iceland’s most important contribution to world literature and their material and motifs still seep into the contemporary art scene of today. Nowhere in medieval Europe did such an exciting, vernacular narrative literature appear in the way it did in Iceland. The sagas depict love and power, justice and forgiveness; they relate the emergence of crises, and their outcomes. Revenants and fylgjur appear bringing calamity, a number of extraordinary female figures are portrayed –all in all, magnificent characters are presented in a vivacious, powerful idiom that does not shy from curses, reveals robust dialogue and artfully connects various linguistic registers.

The sagas will be read by the actors Boris Aljinovic, Michael Altmann, Christian Berkel, Matthias Bundschuh, André Eisermann, Rosemarie Fendel,  Fritzi Haberlandt, Matthias Habich, Corinna Harfouch, Felix von Manteuffel, Laura Maire, Andrea Sawatzki, Hans-Martin Stier, Anatole Taubman and Angela Winkler. Twelve sagas will be presented unabridged, in line with the surviving original manuscripts, until late into the evening. Visitors can look forward to a reading time of around 21 hours. The best-known sagas, such as the Laxdæla saga or that of the great hero Grettis will be presented alongside others such as The Saga of Brennu-Njáls, or the sagas of Gunnlaugr Wormtongue or Hrafenkel. Gems to be discovered include Audunn, The Polar Bear Hunter, or the macabre and mysterious Encounter of Pidrandi.

Although compelling enough in themselves, the linguistically-adventurous sagas will be accompanied by voyages of musical discovery. An extraordinary group of musician includes: from Iceland, the Caput Ensemble and the young multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds, from Norway, Arve Henriksen on trumpet und Arild Andersen on bass, from Sweden, the singer Anna Maria Frimur and from Germany, percussionist Frank Köllges.

Leading experts in Scandinavian Studies and researchers into the sagas from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland will discuss the culture of the sagas, their historical context, the legal system and skaldic art. An international forum of translators will discuss their experience of transposing medieval literature into the present day. The Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiongo’o will present a talk entitled “Reading the Sagas under the sub-Saharan Sun”.

The Icelandic sagas are living literature: they live on in the work of contemporary Icelandic and foreign authors.  In a series of readings and statements, Sjón, Ulf Stolterfoht, Roy Jacobsen and Einar Kárason look at how the sagas are brought up to date.

The festival of readings celebrates the artistry of the sagas and honours the translators. All translators and publishers involved in the new edition are coming to Corvey to provide an insight into the sagas they have worked on.

Ansgar, “ Apostle of the North”, presided over the monastery in Corvey before becoming Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and initiating the Christianisation of Denmark and Sweden. He subsequently accompanied the Danish King Harald I, who had fled the Vikings and been baptised, back to his country. The narration of the Icelandic sagas begins shortly hereafter.

Translators / Publishers / Performers: Klaus Böldl Andreas Vollmer Julia Zernack Wolfgang Butt Thomas Esser Mathias Kruse Kristof Magnusson Kurt Schier Betty Wahl Karl-Ludwig Wetzig Annette Lassen (Denmark) Karl Gunnar Johannson (Sweden) Örnólfur Thorsson (Iceland) Vésteinn Ólason (Iceland)Hans Jürgen Balmes Halldór Guðmundsson (Iceland) Tilman Spreckelsen. Additional translation by: Tina Flecken Johnanes Heimeroth Ursula Giger Sabine Schmalzer Laura Warmhoff

Einleitung