• Útrásarvíkingar: The Literature of the Icelandic Financial Crisis (2008–2014)

    Alaric Hall (see profile)
    Icelandic literature, Medievalism, Fiction, Twenty-first century, Finance, Sociology
    Item Type:
    iceland, 2008 financial crisis, Contemporary fiction, Sociology of finance, Icelandic
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    This book analyses novels in Icelandic that responded to the 2008 Crash. It affords a major case-study of how writers globally responded to the Financial Crisis, and one of the only monographs on contemporary Icelandic literature, providing a window for Anglophone readers into Iceland's current literary scene. Chapter 1 sketches the history of the Crash in Iceland, key concepts, and the book’s main themes. Chapter 2 focuses on the the crisis faced by post-War Western realism as it tried to address high finance and complex social interactions. It explores how one of the main responses to the Crash among younger Icelandic literary writers was pained self-examination. Chapter 3 charts Iceland's post-colonial anxiety about its status in the world, which is perhaps more prominent in Crash-fiction than the Crash itself. It focuses on the use and abuse of medieval and folkloric texts by current fiction-writers and charts changing identities in twenty-first century Iceland, particularly in relation to globalisation, tourism, gender, and Iceland's post-colonial anxieties of identity. Chapter 4 is a case study of writing inspired by Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, the most prominent figure in the boom that preceded the 2008 crash. It focuses on the work of writers born around the 1960s, and how they rewrite Björgólfur Thor's own medievalism to criticise boom-time Icelandic society and its participation in neo-colonialism. Chapter 5, 'Utopianism', explores what ways out of the crisis writers were imagining in the aftermath of the Crash, focusing on Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl's 2009 novel Gæska. The concluding chapter emphasises that Icelandic writers have in some ways been ahead of medievalist scholars in thinking about the relationship between traditional, nationalist medievalism and 'neo-medievalist', Islamophobic medievalism. It sketches some of the characteristics of Iceland's literary scene that seem to have been useful to helping it respond to a moment of crisis.
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    4 years ago


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