The Faroe Islands: Interpretations of History
University Press of Kentucky, 2015. jan. 13. - 280 oldal
Stranded in a stormy corner of the North Atlantic midway between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are part of "the unknown Western Europe" -- a region of recent economic development and subnational peoples facing uncertain futures. This book tells the remarkable story of the Faroes' cultural survival since their Viking settlement in the early ninth century.
At first an unruly little republic, the islands soon became tributary to Norway, dwindled into a Danish-Norwegian mercantilist fiefdom, and in 1816 were made a Danish province. Today, however, they are an internally self-governing Danish dependency, with a prosperous export fishery and a rich intellectual life carried out in the local language, Faroese.
Jonathan Wylie, an anthropologist who has done extensive field work in the Faroes, creates here a vivid picture of everyday life and affairs of state over the centuries, using sources ranging from folkloric texts to parliamentary minutes and from census data to travelers' tales. He argues that the Faroes' long economic stagnation preserved an archaic way of life that was seriously threatened by their economic renaissance in the nineteenth century, especially as this was accompanied by a closer political incorporation into Denmark.
The Faroese accommodated increasingly profound social change by selectively restating their literary and historical heritage. Their success depended on domesticating a Danish ideology glorifying "folkish" ways and so claiming a nationality separate from Denmark's. The book concludes by comparing the Faroes' nationality-without-nationhood to the contrasting situations of their closest neighbors, Iceland and Shetland.
The Faroe Islands is an important contribution to Scandinavian as well as regional and ethnic studies and to the growing literature combining the insights and techniques of anthropology and history. Engagingly written and richly illustrated, it will also appeal to scholars in other fields and to anyone intrigued by the lands and peoples of the North.
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... bedazzled by the Viking past and bemused by the modern “Nordic enigma”: “
Our concern should be to see whether the Nordic world is indeed distinctive,
whether it differs significantly from a world called Europe, or another called
Probably well before the late tenth century, the Faroes formed a political unit
whose principal parliament or high court (Old Norse ping) met at Tórshavn on a
rocky spit called the Tinganes, “Parliament Headland.” Tórshavn itself was most
This official was first called the sheriff, and in 1273 King Magnús Hákonarson
decreed that “the sheriff shall have no more officers than two.” Later on, the
number of officials and the names by which they were called changed. The king's
There is a mound on the west side of Fjallić, Mikla, called Snavalsheyggjur; there
one of the men heard Snaebjørn's iron-shod staff ring on the stones and called, “
He was here! I heard his staff clatter!” “You heard it now, but you won't hear it ...
Snaebjarnarson, who was called “the byre child,” grew up on the farm at við
Neyst and became the shepherd for the soutfield called] Hamrahagi, beyond
Tjørnunes. One day, when he had been in the outfield driving sheep, he was
sitting and ...
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