Les demoiselles d'islande: on the representation of women in the sagas of Icelanders
Crocker, Christopher W. E.
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For much of the history of saga scholarship, questions of origins, the role of feud, kinship, and the structure of the society, and its institutions, have been fertile grounds for research. As such, the female characters – who were certainly less overtly prominent in the settlement of the country as outlined in the texts, as well as in the public and institutional structures – have often been overlooked as subjects of in depth scholarly enquiry. Turning a sharp gaze upon three particular characters, from three different sagas: Auðr from Gísla saga, Guðrún from Laxdæla saga, and Hallgerður from Njáls saga, and entering upon a comparative analysis of the introductions, marriages, and divorces – if applicable – of the characters, this study refutes the archetypical models under which these characters are sometimes studied, and examines the idea of marriage, contrary to its commonly perceived function, as largely a destabilizing force.