By Karen Oslund
Iceland, Greenland, Northern Norway, and the Faroe Islands lie at the edges of Western Europe, in a space lengthy portrayed by way of tourists as distant and exotic--its nature harsh, its humans reclusive. because the heart of the eighteenth century, despite the fact that, this marginalized zone has steadily develop into a part of glossy Europe, a metamorphosis that's narrated in Karen Oslund's Iceland Imagined.This cultural and environmental historical past sweeps around the dramatic North Atlantic panorama, exploring its strange geography, saga narratives, language, tradition, and politics, and studying its emergence as a particular and symbolic a part of Europe. The earliest visions of a wild frontier, full of risky and unpredictable population, finally gave option to pictures of lovely, well-managed lands, inhabited by way of uncomplicated yet virtuous humans residing with reference to nature. this modification used to be finished by way of state-sponsored normal histories of Iceland which defined that the monsters defined in medieval and Renaissance trip money owed didn't fairly exist, and by way of artists who painted the Icelandic landscapes to mirror their fertile and controlled traits. Literary students and linguists who got here to Iceland and Greenland within the 19th century comparable the tales and the languages of the "wild North" to these in their domestic countries.Karen Oslund is assistant professor of worldwide historical past at Towson college in Maryland.
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Additional resources for Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Boo)
The transfer of these documents was taken for granted as a standard part of the postindependence process between the new state and its former motherland. 39 Although the Danish government represented itself as merely following American wishes in moving about a hundred Inuit away from their lands, and claimed that the Inuit had agreed to this move, the Danish High Court found instead that the group had been forced to move on very short notice and under unfavorable conditions. A group of Inuit filed suit against the Danish government in 1996 and received compensation, although considerably less than they had requested, and an official apology from the government in 1999.
If they think themselves still within the boundaries of their home territory, they manage to rationalize the strangeness they encounter. Away from home, they are eager to perceive slight variations as wildly exotic. In the North Atlantic, travelers did both, and quite purposefully so, for example in their efforts to win trading privileges and grants from the Danish Crown, to make collections of folktales, or to investigate nature in the North Atlantic. Unlike some of the other “Orients” of Europe, however, the North Atlantic region was legally part of two European states.
Travel writers from these regions used the journey into foreign lands to reflect on conditions at home. Their use of non-Western regions as mirrors of themselves is a dominant motif of this literature. European writers, prominently Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as many others, who looked at the non-West frequently saw these places as exemplars in a catalogue of binary oppositions between the familiar and the foreign: civilized versus savage, enslaved versus free, enlightened and progressive versus primitive and stagnated.