Earlier this week, I received a copy of my first printed, peer-reviewed article, titled The North in the Latin History Writing of Twelfth-Century Norway (available for download here). The article was published in the article collection Visions of North in Premodern Europe, edited by Dolly Jørgensen and Virginia Langum. The full table of content can be seen on the publisher's website. I was delighted to hold the physical copy in my hands and leaf through it to get a proper sense of the volume itself. I had seen the details of the book in the course of my correspondence with the editors, but being able to browse the physical book itself gave me a much better idea of how the volume worked, how the volume was organised, and how I as a reader might engage with it.
The book collects articles that engage with how various European cultures have engaged with the idea of north at different points in time, drawing on classical heritage, biblical typology, travelogues and various cultural encounters. My own article focussed on how history-writers of twelfth-century Norway described their own country in their efforts to record its history, and how these efforts relied on biblical and classical formulations of the north in an attempt to anchor Norway in the wider Christian history.
My then unopened copy, seconds before the plastic came off
I enjoyed writing the article, since I could combine several of my academic interests: History writing, identity construction, the cult of saints (because of the importance of Saint Olaf), and geographical descriptions. I was also very happy to hold the book two years after I submitted the first draft of my chapter, but I do not know when I will be able to read it. By the time I wrote the article, it contained the full extent of my knowledge on the subject, but a few months after it was submitted in an updated and improved form, I began writing my thesis chapter on Saint Olaf and the textual tradition of twelfth-century Norway. Since then I have learned many things that I would have included in the article if I were to rewrite it, and so my contribution to this wonderful volume is more of a work-in-progress article. Eventually, I hope I will be able to fill in the gaps through other publications, and until then I will enjoy reading the other articles of the book.