Sworn Sisterhood? On the (Near-) Absence of Female Friendship from the Íslendingasogur Natalie M. Van Deusen University of Alberta he inevitable male bias of Old Norse sources has often led to a perpetuation of male bias in modern scholarship regarding the period--an unfortunate situation that various scholars have gone far to rectify in recent decades.1 However, the task of recovering medieval Icelandic women's history from the extant literature is a complex one. References to the lives of women in Old Norse society are scant, and the available information can vary widely in focus and purpose, therefore offering diverse portraits of real or imagined women. What is more, much information has simply not survived the ages; this is the case, for example, with sources related to the convents at Kirkjubær and Reynistaður, from which very little survives except short records of the names of abbesses and nuns and inventories of convent property and belongings (see Anna Sigurðardóttir 1988). Despite these difficulties, scholars have been able to infer an extraordinary amount of information about the status and daily lives of women in medieval Iceland. As a result, there is now a remarkably good sense of how women in Old Norse
Scandinavian Studies – Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study
Published: Apr 21, 2014
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