Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In medieval Icelandic secular prose, female characters function as literary vehicles to engage with some of the most contested values of the period, revealing the preoccupations, desires, and anxieties of its authors and audi-ences; chief among these concerns are women’s access to and employment of power, and men’s vulnerability. Old Norse sources offer their audiences many discrete and varied female images: women of various social and economic positions and racial origins. In this book, I analyze an extensive and diverse gallery of female images: elegant queens who keep their foolish husbands in check; wise, learned, and accomplished but haughty female rulers; scheming and disobedient princesses; and impoverished women who know a magic spell or two. We will also encounter man-eating stepmothers; benevolent stepmothers; monstrously ugly and hostile giantesses; princesses turned into hags by enchantment; resourceful widows; giantesses forsaken and left heartbroken by their human lovers; prophetesses who predict misfortune; neurotic housewives; and awe-inspiring female warriors.


Female Character Female Image Racial Origin Gender Hierarchy Human Lover 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Jóhanna Katrin Friðriksdóttir 2013

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