Stories, especially myths, fairy tales and legends, the stuff of oral tradition, are what fascinate me most in my teaching and research. This fascination has drawn me to the Old Icelandic texts I love to read with my students and write about in my research. Medieval Icelanders were superb storytellers; between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries they wrote prodigiously, preserving much of their traditional oral storytelling in an extensive body of texts that are rich in memorable scenes, unforgettable characters, and well-written dialogues. Stories that contain magic and animals intrigue me particularly. Both of the sagas that have engaged me in teaching and research for many years have these components: The Saga of the Volsungs with its wolves, snakes, horses, dragons, otters and magical shape-shifting, and Hrafnkels saga, which features a relationship between an Icelandic chieftain and his horse. My current collaborative research features the relationship between medieval pictorial and textual tellings of the great Nordic dragon-slayer tale.

My enthusiasm for things Icelandic extends to overseeing the administration of our May-term course in Intensive Beginning Icelandic. And my animal of choice is the Icelandic horse. Next to Iceland, I am most passionate about the pleasures I enjoy learning about movement as a student of the Feldenkrais Method and my lessons in dressage riding. I would like to learn how to be a considerate and communicative partner with a horse.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: , Harvard University


  • Icelandic sagas
  • Scandinavian folklore
  • Scandinavian mythology
  • Old Norse language & literature