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Egil, the Viking Poet: New Approaches to Egil Saga ed. by Laurence de Looze, Jón Karl Helgason, Russell Poole, and Torfi H. Tulinius (review)

Egil, the Viking Poet: New Approaches to Egil Saga ed. by Laurence de Looze, Jón Karl Helgason,... 526  Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October 2017 respite from the violence usually seen in such narratives, suggesting some influence from European courtly literature, and perhaps a more nuanced engagement with questions of marriage, gender, and sexuality than other meykongr texts. As Jóhanna remarks in the Conclusion to her work, the book does indeed succeed in analyzing a wider range of female characters than has hitherto been achieved. This is particularly evident in her chapters on the fornaldarsögur and riddarasögur, which offer important counter-examples to the much-discussed whetters and avengers of other genres. In so doing, the book offers a complex image of women in Old Norse–Icelandic literature, and the multiple ways in which they can exert power, both for good and ill. Although the author’s stated aim is to focus on secular literature, it would be interesting to apply these theories of power and gender to the hagiographic context: the Virgin Mary seems especially relevant in this respect. Another minor complaint would be the surprising lack of consistency in the italicization of saga genres (fornaldarsögur and fornaldarsögur both appear regularly, for example). These are not, however, major detractions from a well-researched and engaging work. On a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology University of Illinois Press

Egil, the Viking Poet: New Approaches to Egil Saga ed. by Laurence de Looze, Jón Karl Helgason, Russell Poole, and Torfi H. Tulinius (review)

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
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Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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1945-662X
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Abstract

526  Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October 2017 respite from the violence usually seen in such narratives, suggesting some influence from European courtly literature, and perhaps a more nuanced engagement with questions of marriage, gender, and sexuality than other meykongr texts. As Jóhanna remarks in the Conclusion to her work, the book does indeed succeed in analyzing a wider range of female characters than has hitherto been achieved. This is particularly evident in her chapters on the fornaldarsögur and riddarasögur, which offer important counter-examples to the much-discussed whetters and avengers of other genres. In so doing, the book offers a complex image of women in Old Norse–Icelandic literature, and the multiple ways in which they can exert power, both for good and ill. Although the author’s stated aim is to focus on secular literature, it would be interesting to apply these theories of power and gender to the hagiographic context: the Virgin Mary seems especially relevant in this respect. Another minor complaint would be the surprising lack of consistency in the italicization of saga genres (fornaldarsögur and fornaldarsögur both appear regularly, for example). These are not, however, major detractions from a well-researched and engaging work. On a

Journal

JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic PhilologyUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Aug 30, 2017

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