Berserks behaving badly: manipulating normative expectations in Eyrbyggja saga

Ruiter, Keith (2020) Berserks behaving badly: manipulating normative expectations in Eyrbyggja saga. In: Narrating Law and Laws of Narration in Medieval Scandinavia. Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (117). De Gruyter, pp. 171-184. ISBN 9783110654219

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A common thread running through the present volume is the consistent highlighting of the flexibility, negotiation, and pragmatism that is so apparent in narrated descriptions of law, legal norms, and legal practice in the medieval Scandinavian milieu. However, developments in the social sciences provide inspiration for scholars of medieval Scandinavia to go further still and undertake a more holistic examination of medieval Scandinavian normativity. After all, it has long been remarked by scholars such as Preben Meulengracht Sørensen and Theodore Andersson that particularly the Íslendingasögur often fixate on situations where competing values – law and honour, for example – collide to manifold literary effects. Studies such as these pick up on an under-researched tension evident in the sagas between competing normative expectations and, in light of the progress made in the social sciences, medieval Scandinavian concepts of normativity should be explored more holistically. In this vein, the following paper makes a close reading of a short vignette in Eyrbyggja saga – the attempted forced marriage between the Swedish berserk Halli and Víga-Styrr’s daughter Ásdís – exploring the ways that various norms and normative expectations are deliberately manipulated by the characters in question to further their own social goals in the narrative.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Iceland, Íslendingasögur, Eyrbyggja Saga, berserk, normativity, law, honour, morality, Medieval, history, literature
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Keith Ruiter
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2022 14:12
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2022 14:12

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