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Norwegian Language and Literature in American Universities {1}
By George T. Flom (Volume II: Page 78)

Fifty-six years have passed since instruction in Norwegian was first introduced into the curriculum of an American university. Since that date courses in the language and the literature of Norway, in either the early or the modern period, have been added to the offerings of all the larger universities, and some of the smaller universities and colleges. I shall try below to give a brief history of this development and to indicate the situation at the present time. I may say here, however, that whereas as late as 1880 the total number of courses offered was only seven, the number had increased to twenty-seven by 1890, and in 1917 to about one hundred and fifty. It would be difficult to measure the significance of this work educationally, as language training, and in its cultural aspect, just as it is difficult thus to evaluate the contribution of the study of any language and literature, or of any other subject. We shall content ourselves with saying here that educators and students have given it and are giving it wholehearted approval and support as a subject that has justified itself in the past; that they regard it as rightly occupying a place beside other modern language study in the programs of our universities and in the training of our students.

Norwegian language and literature--and for the earlier period Old Norse and the literature in that language--now form a part of the language work in American universities just as do German and French and one or two other languages, though on a very much smaller scale in the number of courses taught and in the number of students registered. In the beginning Norwegian was often added because the dean of the graduate school, or the dean of the college of letters and science, or the head of the department of English, or of German, or of comparative philology, desired that the subject be taught; or sometimes because some national group in the population of the state desired that students be given the opportunity of instruction in this language as well as in German and French. Now, however, Norwegian is taught because it has something to offer that is eminently worth while in our American scheme of education and because courses in this subject can do, and are expected to do, some of the work that falls to the modern language departments. But having received recognition and having assumed the burden of some of this work, instruction in Norwegian in the colleges now has the same problems to meet as the two languages mentioned met so successfully in an earlier day. With elementary Norwegian open to freshmen in many of our universities in courses that are taught three or four hours a week, the problems are in some respects different from those that existed some years ago. I shall mention here only the utter inadequacy of the present textbooks for almost all the courses offered in Norwegian language and literature, from the elementary work in modern Norwegian through the various intervening courses to, and including, the study of Old Norse. There are, of course, practical reasons for the deficiency, which I shall not go into here. But the existing difficulties must soon be remedied or some of the most important parts of the work in Norwegian will suffer and it may become necessary to allow them to lapse.

I have been asked to give a history of instruction in Norwegian language and literature in our American universities from the beginning. I shall try to do so, but space will necessarily limit the discussion of details. I think it important here, however, to note the dates when Norwegian was first introduced in the successive institutions, who taught it, what courses were given, and which subjects have been taught most extensively. In the concluding part of this paper I shall speak of some of the problems now uppermost, of present needs, and of the outlook for the future.

The courses in Norwegian might conveniently be considered as consisting of four groups: (1) language courses; (2) literature courses; (3) culture courses; and (4) philological courses. The first group includes the elementary, intermediate, and advanced courses in modern Norwegian, either in the Riksmaal or the Landsmaal form. Courses in the latter are offered in two universities, Wisconsin and Minnesota, but they have rarely actually been given. It is to be noted that in some institutions the old designation "Dano-Norwegian" sometimes still appears, and it is not always used with the same meaning. In one case, at least, the title is that of a course in both Danish and Norwegian. But it is difficult to see how two languages that are phonetically so utterly different are to be taught at the same hour in the same class, and of course they are not--it is one or the other that is taught. In several cases the term "Dano-Norwegian" is used as the title of courses in Norwegian in the Riksmaal form; the texts read and the authors studied are purely Norwegian writers. Used in this sense now, the term is misleading, inaccurate, and antiquated. The term "Dano-Norwegian" here should be abandoned in the names of courses and instead the name Norwegian should be used. In a course treating of the literature of the dual kingdom in the period of union (F¾lleslitteraturen), the first term might be very well employed. The second group, the literature courses, which is very important in the present discussion, will be treated after the account of the introduction of the work in the different institutions. In the third group, the culture courses, are included such courses as "Scandinavian Life," the "History of Scandinavian Civilization,'' and the "Introduction to the History of Scandinavian Culture," in which Norway is treated in connection with the rest of the North. The group includes also courses in Norse mythology- by far the most extensively studied subject in this class. All the courses of the group connect the Norwegian and Scandinavian work with Old Norse on the one hand, and with the work of several other departments on the other. Old Norse is the backbone of the work in the fourth group, the philological courses. Seven institutions offer this subject alone. Usually a one-year course in the language is given; when this is followed by a year of advanced work, the Elder Edda is nearly always studied. In a few universities more specialized courses in Norse philology have been given.

I shall now pass on to the work in the different institutions. I omit from the enumeration the course in Danish and Norwegian supposed to have been given by Paul G. Sinding in New York University in 1858-59. It is uncertain whether this course was a private one for students not regularly matriculated in the university or whether it was actually taught as a university course.{2} In spite of the fact that the instructor held from 1858 to 1861 the title of professor of Scandinavian languages and literature, it appears that the courses were not listed in the university curriculum. Professor Sinding's title was apparently not a teaching title, but was conferred upon him in recognition of his merits as a student and investigator in Scandinavian history and literature. He was resident at the university for three years. Professor Sinding was a Dane, and when he resigned his position in 1861 he returned to Denmark.

American universities are discussed below in the order in which they introduced the study of the Norwegian language.

1. In 1869 the University of Wisconsin first offered Scandinavian courses; they were from the beginning organized as a department and have always remained so. Rasmus B. Anderson was professor of Scandinavian languages from 1869 until 1884. The work of the department covers the general Scandinavian field. In the early period much emphasis was placed upon Old Norse literature; later the emphasis has been mainly upon modern Norwegian language and literature. In the latter subjects the department is now especially well organized, with the relatively large number of fourteen courses, the largest offered by any university in the country. Upon Professor Anderson's appointment as minister to Denmark in 1884, Julius E. Olson was appointed instructor; he was made assistant professor in 1887 and has been professor of Scandinavian languages and literature since 1892. Professor Olson has therefore back of him a period of service of forty-one years; and the department as now organized is entirely his work. During most of this time he has taught all the courses himself, but he had the assistance of Dr. Lee M. Hollander in Old Norse and elementary Norwegian occasionally between 1912 and 1912 and at present he has a graduate assistant. Several language courses are given every year, and also advanced literature courses. Professor Olson's lecture class in the elementary course had 44 students in 1923-24 and 45 in 1924-25; modern Norwegian writers had l08 and 190 students in the same years. A course in the Landsmaal also is offered. At present the Old Norse is taught by William Ellery Leonard, associate professor of English. There were 5 courses in Norwegian given at Wisconsin in 1924-25 with a total registration of 265; the total for 1923-24 was 183 in 7 courses.

2. At Cornell University a "Department of North European Languages" was established in 1869; it included the Scandinavian languages and German. Its head was David Willard Fiske, whose title was professor of north European languages and whose time was given almost wholly to Scandinavian literature and Icelandic. He later founded the Fiske Icelandic Library at Cornell, which is the largest Scandinavian collection in the country, and for Icelandic is one of the best anywhere. In I883 the term "North European Languages" as the title of the department was discontinued, and the title "German Language and Literature" appeared in its place. The Icelandic interest has always held a leading place at Cornell. From 1905 Haldorr Hermansson was instructor in Scandinavian languages, but he was also lecturer in German from 1912 to 1920. A. LeRoy Andrews was instructor in German and Scandinavian from 1909 to 1918, teaching Old Icelandic and modern Scandinavian; in the latter year he became assistant professor of German. In 1920 the Scandinavian work was organized as a department with Dr. Hermansson as assistant professor of Scandinavian languages and curator of the Fiske Library. Before that Dr. Hermansson had given courses on "The Viking Age" and in Norse mythology. At present five courses are offered: "Old Icelandic," "Old Norse-Icelandic Literature," "Modern Scandinavian Literature," "Norse Mythology," and "Early Scandinavian Civilization."

The eighties witnessed the introduction of Norwegian courses in a number of American universities. In a few of these, departments were established; in most the work was formed as a group of courses within the department of German or that of English, and in one case in that of romance languages.

3. Columbia University added courses in Norwegian in the department of German in 1880. They were first taught by Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen. In 1883 he became professor of German language and literature, although he still gave a course in Norwegian conversation. William H. Carpenter, as instructor in Icelandic, Danish, and Swedish, taught in addition to these subjects Old Norse and lectured on Norwegian literature. Dr. Carpenter later became a professor, then head of the department of Germanic languages; he is at present provost of Columbia University. For about twenty years the course in Old Norse has been taught by A. F. J. Remy, now professor of Germanic philology. The Scandinavian work at Columbia represents a transplanting of men and interests and courses in the main from Cornell University, whence Boyesen and Dr. Carpenter both came. Modern Norwegian soon began to receive more attention at Columbia, however. This was due in considerable measure to the interest in Ibsen after about 1890 on the part of several members of the staff, notable among whom is Thomas R. Price, head of the department of English, who wrote a number of studies of Ibsen's technique. In this connection should be mentioned also the name of Calvin Thomas, professor of German from 1895 until his death in 1919. In recent years Norwegian has not been taught, except in 1921-22 when Miss Arnad¿ttir gave a course in elementary Danish and Norwegian. In 1924-25 Dr. Remy taught a course in elementary Old Norse, and also one in the Elder Edda.

4. A department of Scandinavian languages and literature was established at the University of Minnesota in 1883 and Olaus J. Breda as professor entered upon his duties in 1884. The emphasis here was upon Norwegian language and modern Scandinavian literature; down to 1893 instruction was limited to these two subjects. In the latter year Old Norse was introduced, being taught by Dr. Jens A. Ness, who later went to Wittenberg College at Springfield, Ohio. In 1898 Professor Breda resigned and went to Norway to live, and in 1899 John S. Carlson was appointed professor in charge of the department. His training was on the Swedish side, and it was natural, therefore, that during his incumbency more attention was given to Swedish language and literature, though Norwegian courses were always offered. Since 1907 Gisle Bothne has been professor of Norwegian language and literature and head of the department; August A. Stomberg has held the professorship in Swedish. At times there has also been an assistant, as in 1915-16, when Jens H. Hjelmstad taught Norwegian. The department offers elementary, intermediate, and advanced courses in Norwegian, besides several courses in modern Norwegian literature, including one devoted to Bj¿rnson alone, and one to Ibsen. There is also a course in the "Landsmaal Movement and Literature," and one in Old Norse. In all nine courses are offered. Lectures in Scandinavian mythology are given by Professor Stomberg, and a course in Scandinavian history.

5. One may say that the introduction of Scandinavian at Northwestern University dates from 1882, since it was in this year that the Swedish Theological Seminary, founded in 1870, was moved to Evanston and incorporated in this university. The Danish-Norwegian Theological Seminary was established in 1885, the instruction in Norwegian being in charge of the Reverend N. Simonsen, who was principal of the seminary. An elementary course in Norwegian and one in literature have been offered. In Northwestern University proper a course in Norwegian was given by Axel L. Elmquist, assistant professor of German and Scandinavian, in 1917. At present only Old Norse is taught here; it is given by Professor C. Oliver Curme of the department of German.

6. At Johns Hopkins University, Henry Wood, head of the department of German, taught Old Norse from 1885 to 1891. Then the subject was omitted for many years; since 1907 Professor Hermann Collitz has given courses in Old Norse regularly. Norwegian has never been offered.

7. Norwegian was introduced at the University of Indiana in 1885 by David Starr Jordan. In this year he taught a class in Norwegian grammar, and the class read Bj¿rnson's En Glad Gut. Varying the selections, Dr. Jordan repeated this course every year until 1891, when he resigned to accept the presidency of Leland Stanford University. Norwegian has not since been offered at Indiana. Old Norse was introduced in 1906 by Guido H. Stempel, professor of comparative philology. The course alternates with Gothic in a cycle of two years.

8. At the University of Nebraska Hjalmar A. Edgren, professor of romance languages and comparative philology, added courses in Scandinavian to the romance language department in 1886; Norwegian was taught in 1897 by Dr. F. W. Peterson, but apparently it was given only once. A course in Ibsen was later given in the department of German, Brand and the social dramas being read in German translation. The Scandinavian work has since Professor Edgren's day been taught within the German department, but very little Norwegian has been given. The head of the department, Laurence Fossler, has taught a class in Norse-Germanic mythology. Joseph Alexis became instructor in Swedish and German in 1910 and later he was made assistant professor of Scandinavian and German. There was offered for a time a one-semester course in Danish and Norwegian, followed by one semester in the reading of Brand and Peer Gynt. A course in Norwegian and Danish literature was also offered. The Scandinavian courses were dropped during the war, and have not been restored. Dr. Alexis' title is now associate professor of modem languages.

9. The first Scandinavian language taught at Harvard University was Old Norse, which was given by Professor Eugene H. Babbitt in 1888. It was later taught for a number of years by George L. Kittredge, head of the department of English; there were elementary and advanced courses in Old Norse, both sometimes being given in the same year. Professor Kittredge supplemented the class work by public lectures on Old Norse literature. Norwegian was introduced in 1899. From 1900 the work was in charge of William H. Schofield, and in 1906 the department of comparative literature was established with Professor Schofield as director. In this department 'he gave a large place to Old Norse and modern Norwegian literature. Since Professor Schofield's death in 1920 instruction in Norwegian has not been provided; courses are, however, listed in "Dano-Norwegian" and in "Dano-Norwegian Dramatists and their Relation to European Literature." Old Norse was taught after 1920 by Professor Hans C. G. von Jagemann; the course has been defined as consisting of "Extensive Reading in the Sagas, the Younger Edda and the Elder Edda."

10. Scandinavian courses were introduced at the University of Michigan by Calvin Thomas, head of the department of German, in 1888. There was an elementary course in Norwegian with the reading of selections from Bj¿rnson and Ibsen. This course was given regularly until 1895, when Professor Thomas resigned and went to Columbia. In 1896 Professor George Hench gave a course in Old Norse; this course was taught by Ewald Boucke from 1905 until 1914, when he went to Germany to live. Old Norse has not been regularly given since that time, though it is now offered, together with a course in modern Norwegian. Professor Oscar J. Campbell, of the department of English, gives two courses in Ibsen, entitled "Henrik Ibsen," and "Henrik Ibsen and his Contemporaries."

11. In 1889 Olaus Dahl was appointed instructor in Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish at Yale University. He first taught a course in Norwegian in which Bj¿rnson and Lie were studied; later a course in Ibsen was added; and Old Norse was introduced in 1893. When in 1894 Dr. Dahl resigned and went to the University of Chicago, Arthur H. Palmer assumed charge of the work in Scandinavian. Professor Palmer's main Scandinavian interest was Norwegian, and he frequently gave courses; these were taught regularly between 1902 and 1907. He also lectured and wrote on modern Norwegian poets, especially Bj¿rnson, whose lyric poems he has translated in a volume published by the American Scandinavian Foundation. Professor Palmer died in 1918. In 1898 Gustav Andreen was appointed instructor in Scandinavian languages; for three years he gave courses in Old Norse, Danish-Norwegian, and the history of modern Norwegian literature. In 1901 Dr. Andreen resigned and accepted the position of president of Augustana College at Rock Island, Illinois. In 1914 Adolph B. Benson became instructor in German and Scandinavian and he later became assistant professor. Two Norwegian courses are offered -- one in modern Norwegian, considered along with Danish, and one in Old Norse.

12. In 1890 Hermann Collitz, at the time head of the department of Germanic languages, introduced Old Norse in Bryn Mawr College, and he taught it for a number of years. A course in comparative Germanic grammar was also given, with special reference to Gothic, Old Norse, Old High German, and Old English. Dr. Collitz accepted a call to Johns Hopkins University in 1907, after which Agathe Lasche gave regularly a one-year, three-hour course in Old Norse. In 1919, Edward Prokosch became professor of Germanic languages in Bryn Mawr; he is offering each year a course in Old Norse. Modern Norwegian has not been taught.

13. The department of Scandinavian languages and literature was established at the University of North Dakota in 1891 with George T. Rygh as assistant professor. He taught classes in elementary and advanced Norwegian, and later also lectured on the history of Norwegian literature, and instructed classes in Old Norse. The chair was vacant from 1895 to 1898; in 1899-1900 Carl J. Rollefson again gave a course in Norwegian. In 1902 John Tingelstad became professor of Scandinavian languages and German, the latter language being added to the department of Scandinavian. An assistant taught the German and Professor Tingelstad gave all his time to teaching Norwegian and to developing an effective Scandinavian department, including training courses in the teaching of modern Norwegian. Little attention has been paid to Old Norse and the ancient literature of the North. At the present time a course in Old Norse is again being offered, however. Because of the large number of Icelandic, as well as Norwegian students in the University of North Dakota, this course and related courses should find good support. I may add that there also is offered a course in the teaching of the Scandinavian languages in the high schools.

14. At Western Reserve University Old Norse was first taught in 1891, the instructor being Robert H. Fife, who is at present professor of German at Columbia University. Courses in the "History of Early Scandinavian Literature" and in "Old Germanic Myths" were given later by Waller Deering. He also gave a lecture course in "Oldest Germanic Poetry," based mainly on the Elder Edda, the Younger Edda, the Volsunga Saga, Beowulf, and the Hildebrandslied. Courses in Norwegian are not given; Ibsen and Bj¿rnson, however, have been read in English translation in connection with a course in the German social drama, taught by Edward I. Meyer.

15. Brown University introduced the study of Scandinavian languages in 1892, when Adrian Scott first taught Old Norse, as he continued to do for a number of years following. In 1905-06 Dr. A. Clinton Crowell had the course. After that it was for some time given only in alternate years; and it is now no longer offered. Norwegian has not been taught.

16. Old Norse was first given in 1892 at the University of California by Frank G. Hubbard, assistant professor of English philology, later attached to the University of Wisconsin, and now retired. In 1904 Alexis F. Lange became professor of English philology and Scandinavian languages; he conducted yearly courses in Old Norse, and in 1905 and occasionally later, one in Norse mythology. Later Old Norse was given only in alternate years. Since 1919 it has been taught by C. Paschall. Modern Norwegian language or literature is not taught. A few years ago plans were made for a department of Scandinavian languages and literature, but these have not materialized.

17. At the University of Chicago, H. Schmidt-Wartenberg of the department of German first taught Old Norse in 1893. Olaus Dahl became lecturer in Scandinavian literature in 1894; he lectured on the literature and taught a class in Norwegian. Furthermore the Elder and the Younger Edda were studied in English translation in a half-year course. In 1897-98 Marie Wergeland conducted courses in nineteenth century Norwegian literature; in 1905 Torild Arnoldson taught "Dano-Norwegian"; and for some years Old Norse was given by Francis A. Wood, professor of Germanic philology. In addition Martin Schfutte has had classes regularly in Ibsen and the modern drama. In 1906 Chester N. Gould became instructor in Scandinavian and German; he now has the rank of assistant professor. He conducts as a rule two, and sometimes three, Scandinavian courses each semester. Old Icelandic, given last in the summer of 1924, is now given as a double course, four hours a week throughout the year. Dr. Gould is also offering courses in the history of Old Norse literature, in "North European Heroic Lore," and in "Germanic Antiquities." A course in Norwegian was given in University College in Chicago proper during the fall and winter of 1924-25.

18. Julius Goebel, professor of German, first conducted a course at Leland Stanford University in 1893-94; it consisted of grammar in the first semester, and the heroic lays of the Elder Edda in the second. In 1906 George Hempl became professor of Germanic philology; he taught courses in Old Norse regularly, and in 1907 he also gave a course entitled "The Runes: Lectures on the Origin and Development of the Primitive Germanic Alphabet," which was repeated in 1916 and in 1920. Since Dr. Hempl's death in 1921 Old Norse has not been offered. Henry D. Gray has since 1908 given a course on "Modern Drama: A Study of Ibsen and Contemporary Dramatists."

19. At Princeton University Professor J, B. Hoskins of the department of German taught Old Norse for about ten years, beginning in 1894. Since 1915 the work has been handled by George M. Priest.

20. When Marion D. Learned became professor of Germanic languages in the University of Pennsylvania in 1895 he at once introduced the study of Old Norse, and in the following year he repeated the course for beginners and gave also an advanced course. In the latter the Eider Edda was studied, and there was given also a comprehensive course of lectures on Norse literature. Later these courses were given intermittently. With the appointment of David Uppvall as assistant professor of Scandinavian and German in 1922, the Scandinavian field was raised to the position of a division in the German department, and Danish-Norwegian was taught for the first time in an elementary and an advanced course. Recently there has been offered also a course in the history of Scandinavian literature, and a graduate course in Old Norse appears in the curriculum every other year. In addition Dr. Weigand, assistant professor of German, gives a lecture course on "Great Epochs in Scandinavian Literature."

21. A department of Scandinavian languages and literature was organized at the University of Iowa in 1900 with George T. Flom as instructor; he was made assistant professor in 190l and later professor. Elementary and intermediate Norwegian and Old Norse were given every year, and a course in advanced Old Norse every other year. A course in Scandinavian literature was given once, and in 1902 a course in old Icelandic prose, consisting of readings in the sagas. Lecture courses in Norse mythology and in Ibsen were introduced in 1907. From 1906 to 1909 Dr. Flom was also professor of English philology and, in addition to four courses a year in Scandinavian, he conducted courses in first and second year Old English, Gothic, and the history of the English language. He resigned in 1909, and for several years no Scandinavian courses were offered. Henning Larsen, who had become instructor in English in 1910 and later was made assistant professor, has taught Norwegian and sometimes also Old Norse, but most of his time is claimed by English classes. Recently he has offered elementary Norwegian, Old Norse, and advanced Old Norse. None of these were given in 1922-25, but instead a full year course entitled "From Ibsen to Hamsun," consisting of lectures and reading, was offered, the authors being read in English translation.

22. Instruction in Norwegian was first given at the University of South Dakota in 1901 by O. E. Hagen. In 1902 a department of Scandinavian languages and literature was organized with Tollef B. Thompson as assistant professor. Several courses in Norwegian were given, and sometimes Old Norse. There was a promising development in the following years and at the outbreak of the World War the offerings numbered a dozen courses; in 1916-17 the total was eighteen courses, seven usually being given each year. Upon Professor Thompson's death in 1918 the Scandinavian work was dropped at the same time when German was dropped. The department of Scandinavian has not been reestablished.

23. At the University of Kansas William H. Carruth, head of the department of German, taught Old Norse in 1902 and the years following. In 1908 A. M. Sturtevant became instructor in German and later he was made assistant professor of German and Scandinavian. He took over the course in Old Norse and also occasionally taught Norwegian. These courses were abandoned during the World War and have not since been given; elementary Norwegian and Old Norse are now offered, but they are not being given at present.

24. In 1904 the University of Illinois offered a course in Norwegian and Danish literature in the nineteenth century, given by Daniel K. Dodge, professor of English. In 1906 Gustaf E. Karsten became head of the department of modern languages, and he added Old Norse to the offerings in 1907, but the course was not given. With the appointment in 1909 of George T. Flom as assistant professor, later professor, of Scandinavian languages and literature, a group of courses in Scandinavian was offered at first in affiliation with German. Courses in Norwegian language and literature, in Old Norse, advanced Old Norse, and Norse mythology were taught from the first; and a course in the history of old Norse literature is given regularly. A lecture course in "Ibsen's Social Dramas," using the English translations, has been given every year, and sometimes an additional course is offered entitled "Introduction to Ibsen." A course on the "Runic Inscriptions" has been taught once; one in "Scandinavian Palaeography" was given once for advanced graduate students; and undergraduates have had four opportunities to study a "Survey History of Scandinavian Culture." Other courses have been offered in Scandinavian drama and Germanic mythology. (These three courses are now [1927] withdrawn.) Since 1918 the Scandinavian work has been organized as a division of the department of English. Many of the courses have been small; others have been well attended; largest have been those in Norse mythology (102 last year, 82 this year) and Ibsen (82 last year, 91 this year). During the current year six different courses have been given, two of them extending through the year, and one student has taken a "research course" conducted by conferences. The total number of students has been 197 in 1923-24 and 196 in 1924-25.

25. Clara Holst, from Christiania University, gave a course in Old Norse at Wellesley College in 1905 and for several years following. Dr. Holst later became a member of the staff of the University of Kansas, and since her departure Norse has not been taught at Wellesley.

26. At Ohio State University between 1904 and 1908 a course was given in Old Norse and Old Saxon combined, by George B. Viles of the department of German. In the latter year, however, Old Norse was discontinued.

27. Norwegian instruction was introduced at Washington State College in 1905 by A. E. Egge, professor of English, and continued regularly in an elementary and an intermediate course until Dr. Egge's death. The courses have not been offered since.

28. C. M. Lottspeich, instructor in German at Cincinnati University, first taught an elementary and also an advanced course in Old Norse in 19o6. Dr. Lottspeich is now professor of comparative philology, within which field a course in Old Norse is given every year. Norwegian has not been offered.

29. At Wittenberg College, in Springfield, Ohio, Jens A. Ness, professor of Latin, taught a class in Norwegian in 1906 and for some years thereafter. Old Norse was offered in 1907, but it is not given now.

30. A department of Scandinavian languages and literature was organized at the University of Washington in 1912, with Professor E. J. Vickner in charge. He began as an instructor and is at present professor of Scandinavian languages. He is giving an elementary course (ten students in 1923-24, fourteen this year) and an intermediate course in Norwegian and Danish (nine students), and also a course in the literature, and one in Old Norse. Courses are offered in the history of Scandinavian  literature, Scandinavian literature of the nineteenth century, recent Scandinavian literature (44 students in this course in 1923-24), and Scandinavian writers in translation (26 students in 1923-24). (In the last two courses English translations are used; the registration in the two this year is 70). Dr. Vickner also gives a course for graduate students in comparative philology. A lecture course in "Scandinavian Institutions" has occasionally been given. Seven Scandinavian courses are given annually; the registration in 1923-24 was 120, and for 1924-25 it was 123.

31. At the University of Oregon Edward Thorstenberg has offered a course in elementary Norwegian since 1910 and since 1913 also one in advanced Norwegian, and lectures on Scandinavian literature.

32. Otto Heller, head of the department of German at Washington University in St. Louis, has since 1912 regularly given a course entitled "Henrik Ibsen: Plays and Problems."

33. At the University of Utah in 1919 the course in "Leading Dramatists of Modern Times" was devoted to Bj¿rnson and Ibsen; it was taught by O. J. P. Widtsoe. In the two years from 1920 to 1922 Professor Widtsoe offered courses in Norse and "Norse Prose and Verse Readings." It should also be added that there has been given regularly since 1917 a course in modern drama, which begins with Ibsen and gives a good deal of attention to his plays; the same is true also of the course in "Contemporary Drama, 1850 - 1920."

34. Josef Wiehr, assistant professor of German at Smith College, has since 1920 regularly given a course in modern Norwegian, which consists of a study of grammar, with readings from Bj¿rnson, Lie, and Ibsen.

35. In 1921 Lee M. Hollander, formerly of the University of Wisconsin, became assistant professor of German at the University of Texas; he conducts annually a class in Old Norse.

36. Since 1922 two courses in Norwegian have been offered at the University of Colorado --one in "Dano-Norwegian," and the other in "Masterpieces of Norwegian Literature." They are taught by W. F. Baur of the department of German.

I shall add finally that A. R. Hohlfeld gave a course in Old Norse to ten students in the spring semester of 1898 at Vanderbilt University; the course has, however, not been offered since. At the University of Missouri, Old Norse has been listed in the offerings ever since 1906, but instruction has never been given.

This article is intended to offer a brief history of instruction in Norse in American universities and in a few non-Scandinavian colleges. But, while the situation in the Norwegian church colleges is a special one, I cannot leave the subject without mentioning them. Here for example, at Luther College and at St. Olaf College, the modern Norwegian language has occupied a peculiarly important place, in fact something like a central place. For it has been not only a subject of instruction, but also the regular medium of instruction, not only in the Norwegian courses but originally also in all other courses except English. In recent years English has become the medium of the teaching in all the Norwegian church colleges. The training in non-Norwegian modern languages has been limited to German and French. Of these the former has been stressed, as is perfectly natural in Lutheran colleges. The high average of results in the teaching of German has been due, in part certainly, to the fact that alongside the study of German the students received excellent training in a closely related language, their native Norwegian. The excellent results obtained in the intensive training in modern Norwegian, extending over a period of four years in these colleges, are well known. The emphasis is on language training entirely here; and the results are comparable with the best modern language work done in the chief colleges and universities of the country.

Lest the reader be left with a vague impression of the scope and continuity of the work in the institutions listed in the present survey, I shall summarize the number of courses offered in the subject in each university and compare this figure with the total number of all Scandinavian courses that have been given. It will be seen that Norwegian is not taught so extensively as might be wished; in several institutions only one or two courses are given, in others the subject is taught only every other year. In some cases the death or the resignation of the professor in charge has been followed by the cessation of the work for some years; in a few such cases the courses have not been restored; and in two cases the departments have been abandoned. In a few other cases some courses continue to be taught only in the catalog. Some other modern language study is allowed to crowd out the Norwegian from the study programs of the students; some other philological course of far less importance for the student is made to take the place of Old Norse, even if the student wishes the latter subject. In the six institutions listed in group A below, all the time of one or more men is given to the work; in the institutions in group B the instructors in charge do other teaching also. It is not necessary to tabulate the institutions in a third group, but it should be noted that two Scandinavian courses each are offered in Colorado, Columbia, Kansas, Utah, and Yale universities, and one in Bryn Mawr, California, Cincinnati, Indiana, Johns Hopkins, Leland Stanford, Princeton, Smith, Texas, and Washington (St. Louis).

Number of
   Norwegian Courses
Number of
   Scandinavian Courses
Group A:
Wisconsin 14  18
Minnesota 10  16
Illinois 18
North Dakota 10
Washington 14
Cornell 5
Group B:
Pennsylvania 7
Chicago 6
Michigan 4
Iowa 4
Oregon 5

Judged by the number of institutions offering the courses the relative importance of subjects is about as follows: Old Norse, Ibsen, elementary and intermediate Norwegian, history of Scandinavian literature, Norse mythology, history of Old Norse literature, Ibsen and the modern drama. The last is a course that is now given extensively sometimes just under the title modern drama. Then come subjects that are less generally studied: modern Norwegian literature, advanced Old Norse, Scandinavian civilization or the history of Scandinavian culture, Ibsen's Brand and Peer Gynt or advanced Norwegian, and Bj¿rnson and Lie. From the point of view of the number of students registered, the course in Ibsen in English translation leads, the history of Scandinavian literature comes second, and Norse mythology third. In these subjects from twenty to two hundred usually are registered; other classes are usually much smaller. Old Norse, it should be said, is offered nearly everywhere only to graduate students, hence the relatively much smaller classes consisting of from one to fifteen students. Elementary Norwegian is now being taken by a considerable number of non-Scandinavian students; its growth is slow, but fairly steady. It is coming to be regarded by many English teachers as valuable especially to the English student who is preparing for teaching. Especially is it agreed that students of Norwegian extraction, who have acquired some knowledge of Norwegian in the home, should have Norwegian as part of their modern language training from the start of the college course. It is unfortunate that these students themselves do not realize the importance of this.

All courses, except those noted below, have been taught two hours a week. This includes, all the graduate and advanced undergraduate courses, and usually also those in intermediate and advanced Norwegian. Elementary Norwegian has formerly also in most places been a two-hour course, but it is now commonly given as a three-hour course, or, for freshmen, to whom it is entirely a new language, even as a four-hour course. For Scandinavians with some previous knowledge, it is also given as a two-hour course in most universities. As noted, the course is in a few institutions a four-hour course, as German and French, and other beginners' language courses, where these are of four hours, as at Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Washington, or as a five-hour course where these are of five hours, as at Minnesota. In these four institutions the Norwegian is open to freshmen and has in every way been placed on a par with French and German, as permissible in satisfying foreign language requirements, and is so listed with French and German in the catalog. Beginning Norwegian given as a freshman course necessarily must follow the hour requirements of freshman language work.

A very real difficulty in the Scandinavian work in all the institutions in the Middle West, and to some extent in the Far West, is the different degree of previous knowledge of the subject on the part of students in the beginning courses. The larger number of the students in the Norwegian language courses are of Norwegian parentage and have learned something of the language in the home. If the pronunciation of such students is fairly good, and their knowledge of the vocabulary sufficient, they may be put into the intermediate course, though that seldom can be done. Then there are others with little or no knowledge beyond some common terms, or with purely dialectal pronunciation. Finally in recent years, a considerable number of non-Scandinavian students have been registering for Norwegian, and thus the problem is further complicated. The only way to meet this situation is to have two kinds of beginners' courses, one for non-Norwegians, and one for Norwegians, though some of the latter would have to begin the work with the former group, and take up Norwegian as a new language entirely. In the University of Wisconsin an effort has been made to remedy the difficulty in the following way. There is a four-hour course for freshmen, continued for sophomores, also four hours; then there is a three-hour course in Norse grammar and literary readings "for students who have some familiarity with the spoken language, or who have a good knowledge of other foreign languages? These two sets of courses were given for some years; but the requirements of other courses upon the time of the instructor and assistant have made it necessary to eliminate the system for the present, and to try again to teach both kinds of students in the same beginners' classes. In most universities, as at Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, and Illinois, there has apparently always been only the one type of beginners' course. In the University of North Dakota there is au elementary four-hour course, and second-year and advanced courses of three hours; and there are offered also two training courses, one with special reference to those who intend to teach Norwegian in the high schools. The professor in charge has two assistants, Mr. J. Haugen and Miss Rolena Rivenes, with the title of student assistant.

The registration for the elementary and intermediate language courses in Norwegian has usually been small, consisting of from four to fifteen or twenty students -- forty-five in the course for 1924-25 in the University of Wisconsin is possibly the largest on record. In the early days classes were everywhere quite small, usually the course had three or four students to begin with. In eastern universities all courses in Norwegian are commonly given as graduate courses, and the classes are then necessarily small, three to twelve or so. In the Middle West there was encouraging registration as early as the eighties in some cases, as at the University of Minnesota in 1886 when Professor O. J. Breda had a class of seventeen in elementary Norwegian.

The problem of suitable grammars and other texts is a pressing one at the present time; for the work in the universities the available grammars are practically useless. What is needed is an up-to-date book, planned for beginners in the language -- one that in method, content, vocabulary, and reading matter is prepared along the lines of present-day pedagogical theory in language instruction. If some man with university teaching experience in the language, who therefore knows the needs of the students and what it is that especially gives trouble to beginners, particularly to non-Norwegians, could be induced to prepare a grammar, it would be a great help. The present situation is exceedingly bad, and Norwegian cannot long maintain itself as a language training subject along with German and French, even on the small scale of the past, if this need is not soon met and met in the right way. In the advanced courses and in the literature courses the present tools are more nearly adequate. In the graduate courses it is in Old Norse that the need of suitable, up-to-date texts is most pressing, W. A. Craigie's Easy Readings in Old Icelamdic is a good help when the purpose is to give a reading knowledge of Icelandic prose. But there is needed also and especially a complete grammar prepared with a view to use by students in Germanics; and there are needed various texts properly edited, with adequate vocabularies. In Norse mythology a new handbook in English which could be used as a textbook is a desideratum; for my own class in the subject I prepared some years ago a somewhat elaborate syllabus, which I shall, perhaps, have printed. But a separate textbook is the first need. Finally a brief history of the Scandinavian languages and a fairly complete history of modern Norwegian literature are needed. If the second of these is to be used in American colleges and universities, a limited number of great names must be stressed, and Ibsen's works---dramas, poems, essays, letters -- and their significance must have a large place.

In recent years many Scandinavian departments or divisions have added to their literature offerings some course in Norwegian writers to be read in English translation. Such a course usually consists of Ibsen's dramas, but now and then the writings of Bj¿rnson, Lie, Kielland, and Hamsun also are studied. The introduction of such a course, within these limits perhaps, has been a desirable thing, and is in every way justifiable. It has been done in the first place in response to a demand on the part of the students themselves, and the Scandinavian departments cannot afford to ignore this. They should meet this demand, and by meeting it in the right way and offering the kinds of courses that the students need and want the departments will do a service of real importance. In some institutions this course has established a recognized place for itself and the classes are large and growing. There are a great many students who wish the guidance of an introductory course in Ibsen, or a more intensive course in the study of some of Ibsen's dramas, their meaning and technique. There are relatively few, however, who can plan their courses to include the learning of the Norwegian language, even though their major interest is literature and their interest in Ibsen so strong that they would like to learn Norwegian in order to be able to read him in the original. So I think that within certain rather definite limits the course in translated literature has a legitimate place. But I am not certain that it is advisable to attempt any further extension of this type of course. It would be far better if the student who has developed this interest would study the language and learn to read Ibsen, Bj¿rnson, Lie, Kielland, and Hamsun in the original. One of the great literatures of modern times -- one of the greatest--would then be open to him. Norwegian is not difficult; a four-hour-a-week course for a year would give a capable student sufficient mastery; he should have a better command of the language at the end of a year than he could possibly acquire in two years of German or French. In a translation much is lost, is imperfectly rendered, and the greater the work translated the more difficult is the translator's task. Most Norwegian writers have been wretchedly translated -- barring a very few volumes issued in recent years-and even the best translations are but approximations. The instructor in a course using English translations must plan his work carefully with a view to what adequate translations are available; and even then it may be necessary for each work assigned for reading, or taken up for study in class, to consider somewhat the translator's method, and the degree of his success in interpreting his author. I must say here, for the students taking these courses, that they, for the most part, have had considerable previous work in literature, and they make the very best students to work with. Ibsen has a strong appeal for the students of English and German especially; that they like Ibsen's social plays can be readily understood; but it has often been a surprise and a delight to me to observe the appeal that Kongsemnerne and Brand have had for them, and still more of a surprise that for many of them it is Peer Gynt that is the favorite. As Peer Gynt is in Norway the most extensively read of all of Ibsen's dramas, it is destined, no doubt, to gain more and more in favor among students of literature in other countries also, and not least with American university students.

Finally, I wish to add a word about the purely philological courses. Philology has suffered a loss of interest in America during the last two decades, especially the last ten years. There are several reasons for this condition, but I do not wish to go into them here. A growth of interest, however, has been witnessed in the last few years in certain aspects of philological study and in the general field of linguistics. There is reason to hope that the great importance of philological training will gradually be fully recognized, and these studies will again come into their own. Even Old Norse has for several years not been taught in some of the larger institutions, though possibly only because an instructor for the subject was not available. But during the last two years it has again reappeared in a few cases. The Scandinavian departments should place more emphasis upon Old Norse and related courses hereafter. Graduate students in English and German or in comparative philology are making an unfortunate mistake if they do not take at least the one-year course in Old Norse.

The present outlook for the work in Norwegian language and literature in our universities must be pronounced good, even if not excellent. While the number of courses taught this year is perhaps not as great as it was in 1914, the number of students registered is greater. Our work in the universities reached a high point in its development in the years from 1912 to the spring of 1916; then, with the anti-foreign-language feeling engendered by the war, there was a rapid decline, the low mark occurring in the years between 1916 and 1920. I am judging the status of the subject here purely on the basis of number and variety of courses offered, the number of courses given annually, and the extent of the registration in these courses. The number and character of investigations carried on, the scholarly publications issued, the building up of the libraries, and the development in other ways I am here leaving out of the question. The general Scandinavian situation, including that in the high schools, has not been considered; in the high schools the situation of Norwegian is very discouraging. In the universities, however, the Norwegian work began to recover in the fall of 1920, and since the fall of 1922 the gain in a number of the institutions has been rapid, the courses are being restored in others, and new appointments are being made with a view to increasing the offerings in this work. A point has been reached in the growth, I think, when it is imperative that certain needs be met, as I have mentioned above. Assuming that these needs can be met by the cooperation of the men in the field and our progressive publishers, as I believe they can be, it may be said that the future promises .well--that the study of the Norwegian language and Norwegian writers will increase in American universities.

<1> This survey, originally prepared in June, 1925, closes with the academic year 1924-25. Ed.

<2> See the writer's article "Nordiske Studier ved amerikanske Universiteter," in Symra, 1906, pp. 151-180.

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