ISBN : 9780199654307
Gender, Violence, and the Past in Edda and Saga is the first book to investigate both the relation between gender and violence in the Old Norse Poetic Edda and key family and contemporary sagas, and the interrelated nature of these genres. Beginning with an analysis of eddaic attitudes to heroic violence and its gendered nature through the figures of Gudrun and Helgi, the study broadens out to the whole poetic compilation and how the past (and particularly the mythological past) inflects the heroic present. This paves the way for a consideration of the comparable relationship between the heroic poems themselves and later reworkings of them or allusions to them in the family and contemporary sagas. The book's thematic concentration on gender/sexuality and violence, and its generic concentration on Poetic Edda and later texts which rework or allude to it, enable a diverse but coherent exploration of both key and neglected Norse texts and the way in which their authors display a dual fascination with and rejection of heroic vengeance.
1. Undermining Vengeance: Distancing and Anti-feminism in the Gudrun poems
2. Heroic Homosociality and Homophobia in the Helgi poems
3. Kin-slaying in the Poetic Edda: the End of the World?
4. Sexual Themes and the Heroic Past in Gisla saga
5. Violence in Moderation: the Church and Vengeance in the Sagas
6. Manslaughter and Misogyny: Women and Revenge in Sturlunga Saga