Schlow Virtual Zoom Room
07:00 PM - 08:00 PM on Tue, 16 Nov 2021
Nancy Marie Brown will visit Schlow virtually to discuss her recent book, The Real Valkyrie!
In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. The Real Valkyrie weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine her life and times, showing that Viking women had more power and agency than historians have imagined.
Nancy Marie Brown uses science to link the Birka warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. She imagines her life intersecting with larger-than-life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. Hervor’s short, dramatic life shows that much of what we have taken as truth about women in the Viking Age is based not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases. Rather than holding the household keys, Viking women in history, law, saga, poetry, and myth carry weapons. These women brag, “As heroes we were widely known—with keen spears we cut blood from bone.” In this compelling narrative, Brown brings the world of those valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.
For 20 years, Nancy worked as a science writer and editor for a magazine published by Penn State University. She holds a B.A. in English (from the Writing Option) and an M.A. in Comparative Literature (with emphases in Arthurian Romance and Icelandic Saga), both from Penn State.
Free and open to the public.
Registration is required for this Zoom event.