• Blog

    July 18, 2022 · prose,short post,poetry,Iceland,4 minute read
    It’s the middle of July and I’m spending my first summer for many many years in the south of England. I left Iceland about two weeks ago after a month stay. I’m missing it terribly and so I thought it an appropriate time to have a wee think about the last house I lived in, on Bjargarstígur, in ...
    May 14, 2022 · Fundraiser,Norman Nicholson
    This is a post about the project to buy and renovate the house of the Cumbrian poet Norman Cornthwaite Nicholson (1914-87) in Millom, on the county's south west coast. It describes something of the poet's significance to the region and what the project hopes to achieve and why it's important. It...
    April 10, 2021 · football,Blackpool FC
    A lot of snow and cold winds this week. An attempted hike ended in painfully numb cheeks and a (thankfully not broken) injured foot. Football again provided an exciting outlet for pent up, locked down emotion. So here’s my immediate reaction to yet another 2-2 draw.  Result: Lincoln City 2-2...
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  • About

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    I'm a Cumbrian interested in Icelandic literature, fell-walking, all things written, and most things outside. After living mostly in Reykjavík for three years, I've just begun a PhD at the University of Oxford. You can find out about my PhD and general academic interests under the research tab.


    This website is mainly a forum for some other types of writing; you can find examples of this under the blog tab. It contains a some accounts of my mountain adventures, including maps and route information, but also some more general landscape writing.


    The tab "Diary Blog" opens onto a different blog with much shorter chronicle-like entries.


    Photo credit: Sonja Michel 2017

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    If you enjoyed reading something on this site and would like to support it, consider buying me a coffee... or a cup of tea or pint of beer! Ta very much.

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  • Research


    Old Norse-Icelandic literature and language; landscape; dialect; place-names; name studies (onomastics); memory studies; landscape archaeology; medievalism; Norse reception; regionalism; eco-criticism; geocriticism; geology; etymology; twentieth-century poetry; writers of place; north/North; environmental writing; mountain literature.

    My PhD

    Local Vikings!! I argue that Old Norse-Icelandic language and culture has been used in some really important notions of regional identity. Though people may not always realise, Scandinavian language and culture—which came to the British Isles in the Viking Age (793-1066)—continues to impact the words we use and the ways we think. Some of the most historically marginalised areas of the British Isles, including the remotest parts of England and Scotland, have in common a significant Norse element in their history and heritage. This affects everything. From the stories we tell, to the buildings we live in, to the dialect we speak. In an era of marked globalisation, local and regional identity has become more important than ever—and coronavirus has made this even more apparent. In such times, we realise the cultural and economic hegemony of London and the south of England, as regional councils all over the north of England rebel against the government's decisions, and newspapers bear such headlines as "Northern Revolt". I argue in my thesis that by paying close attention to the currents at play in regional identity in certain parts of Britain and Ireland, we can reframe this narrative. We can re-orient the map to bring those areas on the perceived periphery into the the centre of a world which has long been defined by travel, trade and contact over the North Atlantic.


    You can find out more about my research on my academia.edu page or my Oxford page, or feel free to contact me either on twitter (@northerlynotes) or by email: jack.hartley@univ.ox.ac.uk