Gender and Subversion in Medieval Icelandic Legend and Saga
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McGillivray, Andrew. "Gender and Subversion in Medieval Icelandic Legend and Saga," Roda da Fortuna: Revista Eletrônica sobre Antiguidade e Medievo / Electronic Journal about Antiquity and Middle Ages 6(1) (2017): 99-118.
The saga writers of medieval Iceland rhetorically engage with contemporary social issues in their narratives, including issues faced by women and, in particular, the treatment of women in regard to their marriages. Many of these medieval social issues are still relevant today, including gender politics, matters of consent, and spousal abuse. This study limits its analysis of these themes to narratives in two genres of medieval Icelandic literature: the heroic cycle (heroic eddic poetry and the legendary Völsunga saga) and the Sagas of Icelanders (Íslendingasögur). In all of the narratives much is at stake for the leading female characters; the primary difference is that depending on genre, the actions females make to subvert the dominant patriarchy vary greatly, from drastic on the one hand to subtle yet effective on the other.