Dr Slavica Rankovic

Dr Slavica Rankovic

Teaching Fellow in Medieval Literature (Icelandic)

+44(0) 113 343 0220

Summary: Medieval literature, especially Old Norse-Icelandic; oral epic; complexity theory; folklore studies; comparative literature; digital humanities


University of Leeds, Teaching Fellow in Medieval/Icelandic Literature: 2013-2014.
University of Bergen, Research Fellow: 2010-2012.
University of Bergen, Postdoctoral Fellow: 2006-2010.
PhD, The Distributed Author and the Poetics of Complexity: A Comparative Study of the Sagas of Icelanders and Serbian Epic Poetry, University of Nottingham: 2001-2005.
MA by Research, Marko Kraljević Meets Grettir the Strong: A Comparative Study of Characterisation in Serbian Epic Poetry and the Sagas of Icelanders, University of Nottingham: 2000-2001.
BA, English Literature and Language, University of Leeds: 1994-1999.

Research Interests

My research interests include Old Norse literature and culture, oral and orally derived epic (especially South Slavic), folklore studies, comparative literature, studies of complex adaptive systems (complexity theory) and digital humanities. In particular, I am pursuing the following three research strands: 

  • The relationship between individual and communal (‘distributed’) authorship, creativity and memory 
  • The dynamics between formulaic and formulopoietic (generative) features of the sagas and their evolutionary aesthetics
  • Writing technologies and medial interfaces: transitions and continuities between oral, handwritten, printed and digital textualities


Edited Books

(with Else Mundal, Aidan Conti, Leidulf Melve and Ingvil Brügger-Budal): Modes of Authorship in the Middle Ages (Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Press, 2012): http://www.amazon.com/Authorship-Middle-Papers-Mediaeval-Studies/dp/0888448228

(with Else Mundal and Leidulf Melve): Along the Oral-Written Continuum: Types of Texts, Relations and their Implications (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010): http://www.brepols.net/pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9782503534077-1 

Articles in Edited Volumes 

A Tale of the Orality-Literacy Interface: sem fyrr var ritat/sagt/getit/nefnd/talat in the Sagas of Icelanders, in Moving Words: Literacies, Texts and Verbal Communities of the Nordic Middle Ages (provisional tilte), ed. Amy Ch. Mulligan and Else Mundal (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, forthcoming in 2014). 

The Performative Non-Canonicity of the Canonical: Íslendingasǫgur and their Traditional Referentiality, in The Performance of Christian and Pagan Storyworlds: Non-Canonical Chapters of the History of Nordic Medieval Literature, ed. Lars Boje Mortensen and Tuomas M. S. Lehtonen, with Alexandra Bergholm (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 247-272.

The Temporality of the (Immanent) Saga: Tinkering with Formulas, in Dating the Sagas: Reviews and Revisions, ed. Else Mundal (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013), pp. 149–194.

Authentication and Authenticity in the Sagas of Icelanders and Serbian Epic Poetry, in Medieval Narratives between History and Fiction: From the Centre to the Periphery of Europe, c. 1100-1400, ed. Panagiotis A. Agapitos and Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2012), pp. 199–233.

(with Miloš Ranković): The Talent of the Distributed Author, in Modes of Authorship in the Middle Ages, ed. Slavica Ranković et al. (Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Press, 2012), pp. 52–75.

The Oral-Written Continuum as a Space, in Along the Oral-Written Continuum: Types of Texts, Relations and their Implications, ed. Slavica Ranković et al. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), pp. 39-71.

Communal Memory of the Distributed Author: Applicability of the Connectionist Model of Memory to the Study of Traditional Narratives, in The Making of Memory in the Middle Ages, ed. Lucie Doležalová (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010), pp. 9-26. 

Grettir the Deep: Traditional Referentiality and Characterisation in the Islendingasögur, in Á austrvega. Saga and East Scandinavia: Preprint Papers of the 14th International Saga Conference, 9th–15th August 2009, ed. Agneta Ney, Henrik Williams and Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist (Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2009), vol. 2, pp. 795-801. Available online at: http://hig.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:224754

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Immanent Seas, Scribal Havens: Distributed Reading of Formulaic Networks in the Sagas of Icelanders, forthcoming in European Review 2014, 22(2).

Managing the “Boss”: Epistemic Violence, Resistance and Negotiations in Milman Parry’s and Nikola Vujnović’s Pričanja with Salih Ugljanin, Oral Tradition 2012, 27(1): 5-66. Available online: http://journal.oraltradition.org/issues/27i/rankovic

Who is Speaking in Traditional Texts? On the Distributed Author of the Sagas of Icelanders and Serbian Epic Poetry, New Literary History 2007, 38(2): 239-307. Available online: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_literary_history/v038/38.2rankovic.html

Golden Ages and Fishing Grounds: the Emergent Past in the Sagas of Icelanders, Saga-Book 2006, 30: 39-64. Available online: http://www.vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/Saga-Book%20XXX.pdf

Petar II Petrović Njegoš: Ecce Homo, Working With English 2003 (1). Available online: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~aezweb/working_with_english/wwew0304.htm

Emerging from the Horizon of Expectations: the Evolutionary Quality of the Sagas of Icelanders and Serbian Epic Poetry, Quaestio, 2001, 2: 91-106.


New Directions in Oral Theory: Essays on Ancient and Medieval Literatures, ed. Mark C. Amodio, The Medieval Review, 2007, available at: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/6235

DuBois, Thomas A. Lyric, Meaning and Audience in the Oral Tradition of Northern Europe: Poetics of Orality and Literacy, The Medieval Review, 2007, available at: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/6426

Recent Conference Papers and Invited Lectures

2013 Strengths Less Ordinary of Grettir the Strong: Distributed Reading of the ‘No Reaction’ Formula in Grettis saga, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds, UK

2013 (with Miloš Ranković) Formulaic Spacing and Communal Ideation: Distributed Reading of Medieval Icelandic Sagas, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

2012 Immanent Seas, Scribal Havens: Distributed Reading of Formulaic Networks in the Sagas of Icelanders, 24th annual conference of the Academia Europaea, Bergen, Norway 

2012 ‘Guðrún leit til hans ok brosti við’: Formulas and Formulopoiesis in Laxdæla saga, 15th International Saga Conference, University of Aarhus, Denmark

2012 The Hall of Mirrors: the Usage Patterns of sem fyrr var sagt/getit and sem fyrr var ritat Formulas in the Íslendingasǫgur, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK

2011 Blushing Brides and Their Chilling Smiles: the Aesthetics of Formulopoiesis in Laxdæla saga, Aesthetics and Ideas of Beauty in the Old Norse World, an international conference, CMS, University of Bergen, Norway

2010 Managing the ‘Boss’: Performance Negotiations, Noise and Meta-Performance in the “Conversations with Salih Ugljanin”, Performance and Performativity in Medieval Europe: Texts and Transformations, an international conference, CMS, University of Bergen, Norway 


Level 1
Icelandic Language and Culture I

Level 2
Medieval Literature