Stephen Arthur Mitchell

Stephen Arthur Mitchell

Robert S. and Ilse Friend Professor of Scandinavian and Folklore
Curator, The Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature
Chair, Folklore & Mythology
Stephen Mitchell headshot

As an undergraduate, I attended the University of California, Berkeley (A.B. in Anthropology and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures), the University of Lund, Sweden, and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D., in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures). For my work on medieval Scandinavia, I have been honored to be the recipient of a variety of prizes (e.g., The Dag Strömbäck Prize, Walter Channing Cabot Fellow, Jarl Gallén Prize), was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aarhus universitet, and was elected a member of The Royal Gustav Adolf Academy. Both of these institutions have strongly supported my research, as have the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study.

The former Master of Eliot House (1991-2000) and a former resident tutor in Pforzheimer, I have been heavily involved in student life at Harvard over the past four decades. Since 2005, I have annually taught in and directed Harvard’s Viking Studies Program in Scandinavia, featured in USA Today as one of the nation’s most unique study abroad programs. In addition to my appointment in Germanic Langs & Lits, I regularly serve on the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology, the Committee on Medieval Studies, and the Standing Committee on Archaeology.


Selected Publications


Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle

Heroic Sagas and Ballads

Job in Female Garb: Studies on the Autobiography of Agneta Horn


Principal contributor to and/or Editor of:

A History of Swedish Literature

Minni and Muninn. Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture

Handbook of Pre-Modern Nordic Memory Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches (2 vols)

Pre-Christian Religions of the North (5 vols)


Ca. 90 articles, entries, and essays on medieval and early modern Scandinavian literature, language, and culture

Contact Information

Warren House
p: (617) 495-4788
Office Hours: On leave 2020-21