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The Female Ruler

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

Abstract

The social changes that took place in the wake of Iceland’s formal entry into the Norwegian monarchy in 1262–4, in conjunction with the influx and popularity of romance from the British Isles and Europe, brought about a transformation in the country’s cultural and political discourse. The effect of these developments can be found in indigenous Icelandic literature, which from the late thirteenth century onward became even more diverse than before. New types of popular texts emerged, bringing with them new images of women, especially the meykongr or maiden-king, a figure which features prominently in many of the late-medieval indigenous romances, (frumsamdar) riddarasögur. This (sub)genre is a fusion of different narrative elements, profoundly influ-enced by the structure and themes of foreign romance literature but containing motifs originating in native heroic legend, where images of independent women abound.1

Keywords

Rape Myth Male Role Female Protagonist Traditional Female Role Late Thirteenth Century 
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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Notes

  1. Olimpia in Samsons saga fagra is an active character who works toward establishing and preserving peace, see further Werner Schäfke, “The ‘Wild’ East in Late Medieval Icelandic Romance—Just a Prop(p)?,” in A austrvega: Saga and East Scandinavia. Preprint Papers of The 14th International Saga Conference. Uppsala, 9th-15th August, 2009, ed. Agneta Ney et al. (Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2009), p. 849 [2: 845–50]. Tecla, the lady-in-waiting in Clari saga, can also be seen as somewhat active. However, these figures’ actions are beneficial to the protagonist or the community and thus not portrayed negatively.Google Scholar
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© Jóhanna Katrin Friðriksdóttir 2013

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