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IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 1108: The Sagas of Icelanders

Wednesday 15 July 2009, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Viking Society for Northern Research
Organiser:Alison Finlay, Department of English & Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London
Moderator/Chair:Alison Finlay, Department of English & Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London
Paper 1108-aThe Amazing Björn Breiðvíkingakappi: The Constructed Third Hero of Eyrbyggja saga
(Language: English)
Michael Irlenbusch-Reynard, Independent Scholar, Stavanger
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Mentalities, Pagan Religions, Rhetoric
Paper 1108-bThe Concept of drengskapr in the Sagas: Significance, Ethical Background, and Evolution of its Meaning
(Language: English)
Liliane Irlenbusch-Reynard, Abteilung für Skandinavische Sprachen und Literaturen, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1108-cHonour and Disgrace: Animals and Society in the Family Saga
(Language: English)
Lena Rohrbach, Nordeuropa-Institut, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Scandinavian

Paper -a:
Besides its foremost characters Snorri and Arnkell, Eyrbyggja saga features another hero: Björn Breiðvíkingakappi appears not only in a love story, survives assassinations and gets temporarily exiled, but is also targeted by witchery, has an alleged glorious Jómsviking warrior carreer, and mysteriously re-appears as a chieftain in an 'unknown country' in the West. This paper aims at an explanation why all these motifs both realistic and fictitious are concentrated on one single person instead of introducing several minor saga characters, i. e. what narrative purpose a constructed third hero would serve telling the story of Eyrbyggja saga.

Paper -b:
In the sagas, the expression góðr drengr, the adjective drengiligr and its adverbial form drengiliga are of rather common use, positively qualifying many a hero and their way to act. With these words, the person appears to be praised for quite various qualities, such different as bravery, pride, loyalty, fair play, helpfulness, or kindness. The concept of drengskapr in Old Norse literature is indeed complex, referring to a large and evolving spectrum of virtues. By considering the different uses of the words góðr drengr, drengiligr and drengiliga in several Íslendingasögur, I intend in this paper to examine and discuss the significance of that concept together with the question of its ethical background and the evolution of its significance through the Middle Ages.

Paper -c:
In the Islendinga sögur, interactions between man and animal are closely connected to the discussion of the core values of the society depicted in these prose narratives, such as honour and disgrace. If a man wants to uphold his social position, certain animals are to be avoided altogether, while others should only be approached in certain ways and in specific circumstances.
This paper will take a closer look at the narratological and anthropological implications of these interactions. The situation in the Islendinga sögur will briefly be compared to that in other saga genres, especially the samtíðar sögur and the konunga sögur.