Spatial Reading: Digital Literary Maps of the Icelandic Outlaw Sagas
By Mary Catherine Kinniburgh
Digital Medievalist, Vol.11 (2018)
Abstract: Digital humanities scholarship contributes to current conversations on literature in many forms, especially in its recontextualizing of what it means to read. By integrating visual, spatial, and quantitative forms of knowledge alongside the practice of text-based hermeneutics, digital techniques expand the possibilities of interpreting texts, particularly with the emergence of widely available geospatial and data visualization tools.
This article outlines and reflects on a methodology for producing geospatial and data visualizations of place names in the Icelandic outlaw sagas, and discusses how the results corroborate existing research and also facilitate critical methods of ‘reading’ these texts spatially. While articulating the saga-specific findings of the visualizations, this article also contextualizes the conceptual work of digital literary mapping as a method that is particularly insightful as we determine the role and validity of digital techniques, especially for interdisciplinary and historically-situated work.
Top Image: Thingvellir National Park in Iceland