Alisa Valpola-Walker, King's

Degree: PhD
Course: ASNC
Supervisor: Prof Judy Quinn
Dissertation Title:

Truth and Lies in Late Medieval Iceland: A Study of AM 589f 4to


Biographical Information

Before beginning my PhD, I completed a BA in History at the University of Exeter and an MPhil here at the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. I am currently an Editorial Assistant for Viking and Medieval Scandinavia; co-president of the 2021 Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic; and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Quaestio Insularis that will follow. 

Research Interests

My PhD thesis explores how the legendary Scandinavian past is remembered in the late-fifteenth-century Icelandic manuscript AM 589a–f 4to (with a particular emphasis on part f). My approach is informed by memory studies and material philology and investigates not just what the past looks like in the manuscript's sagas, but how they can be considered mediums of cultural memory that shaped how late-medieval Icelanders understood their pasts and, in doing so, furthered particular social and political agendas. Within this, I'm particularly interested in the manuscript's 'media-consciousness': how the scribes negotiate their sagas' historical mode and how they positioned their texts in relation to other forms of oral and written communication. 

Areas of Supervision

I have supervised on the following papers:

Part I Paper 2: Scandinavian History of the Viking Age 

Part I Paper 6: Old Norse Language and Literature 

Part II: Dissertation 

Selected Publications

'Testing the Boundaries of History: Göngu-Hrólfs saga and its apologiæ in AM 589f 4to', Quaestio Insularis 21 (forthcoming)