• Blog

    March 23, 2020 · 2
    Up and up through a cranny in the cliff face, funnelled through a notch and hemmed in by dry stone walls and crags; a red kite comes for a closer look. Peregrines sometimes nest in the cliffs above Kentmere village, and, remembering the alarm calls of Greenland, I raise my pole above my head to...
    March 20, 2020
    This is clearly a difficult time in every regard, and I’m sure you’ll all be experiencing some hitherto un-dreamed-of challenges, whether it’s being separated from your loved ones, losing your job, or fearing for the safety of those around you. So it is especially important in this time of great...
    February 12, 2020
    Crows caw ominously. One huge shifting mass, they spiral upward together in a swirling blackness, melding with the dark clouds of the impending storm.[1] The sky is thick with the approach of rain, but the sun forces its way through, spilling through the clouds in a wide fan of light, individual...
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  • About

    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 academic tab.


    Photo credit: Sonja Michel 2017

  • Academic


    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, as well as a whole load of racists, 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

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