IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1118: Sex, Alcohol, and Violence: Pleasure in Old Norse Myth and Pre-Christian Beliefs

Wednesday 3 July 2013, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Luke John Murphy, School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavík
Moderator/Chair:John S. McKinnell, Institute of Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Durham University
Paper 1118-aSex, Violence, and Historical Authenticity: Rape and Pillage in Popular Viking Fiction
(Language: English)
Erika Sigurdson, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Medievalism and Antiquarianism, Sexuality
Paper 1118-bBody Politics?: Transformed Princesses in the Fornaldarsögur
(Language: English)
David Hugh Varley, Department of English Studies, Durham University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Sexuality
Paper 1118-cA Bloody Mess: The Sex Lives of the Valkyries - Or Lack Thereof?
(Language: English)
Luke John Murphy, School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavík
Index terms: Language and Literature - Scandinavian, Pagan Religions, Sexuality, Women's Studies

The pre-Christian mythic narratives (and religious beliefs) of the Nordic region reflect the harsh reality faced by the societies which produced them, frequently focusing on violence and the ruthless acquisition of precious goods and knowledge – sometimes in sharp contrast to scenes of indulgence and pleasure. It is this dichotomy that the papers in this session intend to examine, considering the transgressive nature of pleasures as diverse as seduction, alcoholic drink, camaraderie, and laughter when contrasted with the ‘normalcy’ of mythic narrative, asking questions including: did the gods experience pleasure differently to their worshippers? How was pleasure presented in different periods? Or in association with different mythological figures? Was pleasure subjected to value judgements as positive or negative?