The Final Project

Hej, Alte! It’s finally time for me to unveil my Final Project, a retelling of everything I’ve studied in the style of the Prose Edda! It is technically a propaganda piece, so do not take it as an accurate depiction of history or reality, and while the entire text is in this post, please feel welcome to check out the attached link which contains commentary on the text.

Part I: The Righteous Rebellion

In the era in which a Lord from an island once of Langobardland sat upon the Throne of the Franks, and the Sons of Rollo fought against their ancestral homeland, did slow fortune and great peril find the Fair Kingdom of the Northmen. At this age did the kingdom of southern brothers, most of which we now call the Danish Realm, in fear of the Wood-Cavalry of Nelson, did they surrender the Fair Kingdom to eastern brothers. These brothers knew only wrath for the loss of Carolus and their Cousin-Victims at the hands of foes, two each from west and south, and one mighty eastwards. Yet still they had agreed to give southern land, not fit for a king and forgotten by its founders, in exchange for the Fair Kingdom.

Named for Faith and Father,

Arose a Prince quite Fair,

Rejected Cousin and Tongue-Kin

In Favor of Northmen.

Gave Power once Lost

To More than Past,

And Set the Structure

To Reclaim Her Stature.

When news of the Righteous Rebellion reached the ears of the Franklord of Sweden, he refused all treaties, regardless of benefit, and in wrath surrendered that Southern Lordship to the Black Eagles of Rome. The wrath-made warmongers butchered through their brothers from the Fair Kingdom, in service to that Frankman.

Part II: The Union Under Sweden

Not one winter did the Righteous Rebellion see, yet half a hundred hence did the Fair Kingdom expand past the corn coasts and the fish fields, and her Fair Tongue at long last knew text on timber-tablets. For the Fair Farmers saw fit to oppose the Franklord and those who followed from Sweden, for they found their Rights Restored in Rites Written from the Righteous Rebellion, for Reimbursement their Reward would be.

From whence come Northern Tongue?

A Thousand Homes or Broad Beech-Bark Lung?

Words of our Loved-Land or Land Lovely in Name?

As Seen in the Skaldic Successor Folk-Fiddler’s Fame,

And the Heirs of Runes born at Ringerike in Rectory

Merely One may never make the Most Memorable Memory.

Rising as a Raven under Worker’s Wings, the Fair Kingdom Gold from Kingdom Great and Beyond Further did Find. Lauded Liberty to and fro the Fair Kingdom did travel. From Sovereign States, Republican Revolutions, and Unification Upheavals, Ingrained Independence-Inspiration in the Fair Kingdom became. 

Part III: Haakon the Patriot

In the age Nine-Winters preceding Fimbulvetr did the Lord of the Eastern Brothers earnestly bequeath the land of the Fair Kingdom to the Northmen, yet to what purpose serves a Crown with no Crown? A Feast with No Host? A Crew with no Captain? The Fair Kingdom found her a Prince, well-versed in the viking ways, and kin of the Faithful preface of one named Tarquin westerly. This Prince preached and practiced the ideals of freedom found in the Fair Kingdom, and refused the Crown until Common Subjects spoke his name in Favor. 

When Crowned the Prince most Fair

Humbly he proclaimed, heard to great Cheer,

“Haakon, my name” not one of his kin,

But a hero grand to the Northmen.

A Purpose called to him no Greater,

To serve as Equals the will of Lord and Commoner

When south-folk brutal as their barbaric hero came,

The crown, he ensured, in the Fair Kingdom must remain.

It was buried humbly, for in no grave could it imprison,

And freed five winters hence Thrice the Sun had risen.

Freed following the fate of Ragnarok, the Righteous Reign of Honorable Haakon had returned. Through an age filled with fear westerly, eastwards, and southly more than most, under Haakon a Home and Haven the Fair Kingdom became.

Most Fair from Foot to Hair,

He, a Hero, United our Terre.

Most Great and Most Grand,

This Lord, we’ll Laude, saved our Land.

With his Blood-Brush Bared,

He, our Savior, kept us from Makes-Scared.

From these thousand homes Haakon rose to the fore,

Against hate-born Rome and her Black Eagle’s wrath-roar.

The Norwegian Language

Norway’s path to gaining its own written languages, Bokmal and Nynorsk, truly began in the mid 1840s, when multiple intellectuals, including poet Henrik Wergeland, argued in favor of Norwegian abandonment of Danish as the official language and instead the creation of a new Norwegian language based off of local dialects, Ivar Asen’s “Landsmal,” which would become “Nynorsk.” The project of the Norwegian language was furthered by storytellers P.C. Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe who retold Norwegian fairy tales much in the same manner that the Brothers Grimm retold German fairy tales.

Well, my long focus on Northern Lights might finally be wrapping itself up (though there may be a few more posts). The focus of this project has changed a lot, I think for the better, and I’m excited to start focusing on the final project, whatever form that may take.

Slight Delay and some more Background

So, unfortunately, my computer with my current source downloaded on it broke down a few days ago. Luckily, as of now, I’ve gotten a new one with all of the files on the old one transferred, so nothing but time was lost. So, to make up for lost time, here’s some more background information (and personal theories) regarding the formalization of the Norwegian written languages of Bokmål and Nynorsk (called Landsmål at the time) around the 1840s-70s. First, while my source does not specify the date of Norway’s economic expansion and her introduction to the free market, it does refer to it as the “mid 19th century,” and I do still believe that the native paper, the presence of which would make books much cheaper to manufacture, industry played a role in the movement for a formal Norwegian written language, as would the introduction to an international market. At this time, a massive boom in the amount and variety of products that are exported from Norway occurred, and non-Norwegians, particularly traders and businessmen, would want to be able to understand the labels on these Norwegian products. Finally, around the same time, nationalist movements were spreading across Europe, with the Italian Risorgimento of 1848-1861/71 and the German Unification of 1864-1871.

Norway’s Economic Development

The Norwegian Economy, much like the rest of Norwegian Society under Sweden, developed and helped further the cause of Norwegian Independence. The world-wide expansion of free trade, for all its faults in the modern age, was the spark that ignited the Norwegian Economy. Norway’s agricultural industry, which as previously established was 80% of the economy and only forestry was integrated into monetary markets, advanced from solely grain-based production (referred to as corn in Norway) to a dairy-heavy system, and agricultural universities were founded. The fishing industry expanded from the coasts of Norway to richer fishing banks, fueling the growth of the new canned fish industry. The forestry industry expanded to pulp and paper, the latter of which no doubt was influential in the formalization of a Norwegian written language and the first written Norwegian folk tales around the same time.

Northern Lights has proved to be a treasure trove of information, so much so that it has expanded the focus of my independent study. I look forward to studying it more and seeing all the connections I will make.

1814- The Impact of Sweden on Norway’s Economy

(Both this and the previous post are from Nils Johan Jorgen’s Northern Lights, chapter 3)

While the political impacts of Norway’s transfer to Sweden have been previously covered, and the later cultural impacts have as well, one topic that I have yet to cover would be the Norwegian economy.

To put things quite simply, Norway’s economy was in a horrible situation. Many of the nation’s “Trading Houses” (I couldn’t find a solid definition, but it seems to have been a building where trading occurred, as opposed to an organization like a guild) were forced to close due to high tariffs and the lower prices of Norway’s native industries. Forthermore, around 80% of the employed population was in agriculture, which had yet to integrate into the international market.

Quarter 1 Reflection

By the end of the week, I will officially be halfway through this independent study, a fact that brings me melancholy and pride in equal measures. I am sad that it will be over, but I am glad to have done this.

I have learned quite a bit about Norwegian Romantic music and Norwegian politics from the 1810s-1820s, and am excited to go further into both Norwegian Romantic Art and Norwegian politics around its independence. I have learned that being able to connect to the matter of my study helps strengthen my learning and I am excited to introduce some of my own art into this project. While some of my discoveries have led to posts being delayed, I am still glad that such discoveries occurred. I believe that what I have learned about Ole Bull has currently proven to be the most important part of my study so far, though I doubt and have no desire that it will remain so.

The Concept of the Norwegian Constitution

The Norwegian Constitution, originally written in 1814 and kept with some edits and changes since, was considered revolutionary for its time. It was written by a meeting of Christian Frederick and 21 distinguished men, known as the Meeting of Notables, and contained multiple concepts from the earlier US Constitution of 1787 and the French Constitution of 1789. This included the “Rights of Man,” the “Sovereignty of People,” and the “Separation of Powers.” The biggest hurdle in the adoption of the constitution was the transition from an absolute monarchy to a nearly entirely constitutional one. (I say nearly entirely because if parliament can’t decide upon the next prime minister, the king has the final say, though in the British constitution, the monarch can technically appoint anyone to the position)

Bull and Neurodivergence

This was something I was unsure about including in my last post, but after consideration, I believe that it would be appropriate to include. As both a relative of Bull and someone with Autism and ADHD, I believe that Ole Bull had at least one of the two. He could entertain himself and others in unorthodox and oftentimes childlike ways and was very emotionally sensitive and aware, both traits of autism from my personal experience; and he would often abandon projects halfway through, a trait I share with him through my ADHD.

Ole, Oleanna

Ole Bull (1810-1880) was a Norwegian musician who played a major role in developing Norway’s musical culture which helped propel it towards independence. In his youth, he had heard and listened to a type of Norwegian folk music known as “slåtts” (fiddle music) a lot. He had created a uniquely Norwegian style of music based off of several types of folk tunes, which included “their modal basis, their raised fourths and flatted sevenths, their varied repetition of phrases, their repetitions that formed sequences, their simple harmonies made up of intervals of open fourths or fifth, and their frequent drone basses.”

Ole Bull was a Norwegian nationalist through and through, and his music was used to instill a desire for it in other Norwegians and to inform non-Norwegians. As a man, he was impulsive and eccentric, two traits that, even though they brought him some misfortune, gave him the desire and the passion to push for Norwegian independence. He was in favor of a possibly violent revolution, and once told his father, “Independence is not too dearly brought for a proud man-. Life is freedom, slavery is death. Without battle no victory, without victory no freedom. ‘Vita bellum- bellum vita’ is my motto.”

Being able to read about a man like Ole Bull was an amazing opportunity. My next post will most likely be on Chapter 3 of Northern Light, which I had promised to post about two posts ago. The book I read was Einar Haugen’s Ole Bull, Norway’s Romantic Musician and Cosmopolitan Patriot, and the two quotes above come from pages 259 and 274 respectively. While I couldn’t find a good place to fit in this information, Bull was noted to have a childlike way of entertaining himself and was notably aware of emotions, both his own and others’. This post’s title comes from the chorus of a song titled “Oleana” (sometimes spelled as “Oleanna”), which was about the settlement Ole Bull founded in Pennsylvania of the same name, though now it’s called “Oleona” and much of the original settlement is part of Ole Bull State Park.

A Useful Discovery

This weekend, I found what I am nearly certain will be a very helpful resource in my attic while searching for Halloween decorations. What I found was, located on a bookshelf, a three-hundred and fifty-four page biography on Norwegian musician Ole Bull, entitled, Ole Bull: Norway’s Romantic Musician and Cosmopolitan Patriot. Ole Bull was, according to the Store Norske Leksikon (Grand Norwegian Encyclopedia), one of the most important contributors to the Norwegian Romantic Nationalist movement, and he was responsible for writing down most of what we know as Norwegian folk music today. I am excited to start reading this biography and writing about it in future posts.