President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, as an honorary guest and a historian himself, will address an evening of talks about “Klám og hnignun” which means “pornography and decline.” Sögufélag Books, known for high-quality history-related books, has announced two new works that demand celebration as well as consideration, and the evening of October 25 is designated to do exactly that. It will be in Icelandic, but it’s a great time to dive into the language or spend an evening in the company of interesting people.
“Pace of pornography”
The first book is called Stund klámsins: Klám á Íslandi á tímum kynlífsbyltingarinnar, or “Pornography’s Moment: Pornography in Iceland during the time of the sexual revolution.” The author of the book is historian Kristína Svava Tómasdóttir, one of the first Icelanders to write an academic work on this difficult topic of Iceland’s history. Aspects she is considering are the contradiction between the ideas of pornography and informative education as well as artistic expression. Furthermore, sex and suppression and a possible impact on the freedom of expression through censorship will be discussed. Kristína also introduces stories of Icelandic history that haven’t been considered in detail until the 21st century.
“Decline – what decline?”
Axel Kristinsson will be the second historian presenting a new book about the myth of humiliation in Iceland’s history. It is called Hnignun, hvaða hnignun? Goðsögnin um niðurlægingartímabilið í sögu Íslands and discusses the concept of misery in the history of Iceland. He poses the question of whether the country went through a period of decline as well as whether Iceland is the poorest and most primitive country in Europe. A topic which is on the one hand quite controversial and on the other possibly quite offensive, Axel argues that just the idea is humiliating but that it stems from a political myth created by ideologies.
Icelanders are great with speaking English so get off the couch and ask the specialists about whatever you want to know. They have snacks, too.