Bouman, Arie Cornelis. Literature and Myth, the picture of Hallgerðr

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  • Author: Bouman, Arie Cornelis
  • Title: Literature and Myth, the Picture of Hallgerðr, Höskuld’s Daughter
  • Published in: Patterns in Old English and Old Icelandic literature
  • Place, Publisher: Unversitaire Pers Leiden
  • Year: 1962
  • Pages: 1-13
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Bouman, Arie Cornelis. “Literature and Myth, the Picture of Hallgerðr, Höskuld’s Daughter”. In Patterns in Old English and Old Icelandic literature, pp. 1-13. Leiden: Universitaire Pers Leiden, 1962.

  • Key words: mythology, motifs, structure, characterisation, goðsagnir, sagnaminni, bygging, persónusköpun


Contents

Annotation

After underlining the social and educational importance of myths and their “mythical truth”, this article analyses Hallgerd Hoskuldsdottir’s episodes. It states that the recurrences of the hair motif, weddings, and the strike/revenge sequence in her three marriages are reflecting the “epic threefold repetition”. This repetition is a law of composition employed by Axel Olrik, indicating that the narrative material is stylized and used in order to activate a myth and thus give a deeper significance to the repeated elements. Hallgerd’s complex personality is then analysed and explained as composed from images of ancient heroines, thus becoming a new mythical figure herself.

Lýsing

Höfundur byrjar á að leggja áherslu á félagslegt og uppeldislegt mikilvægi goðsagna og þess "sannleiks" sem í þeim felst, en snýr sér síðan að því að greina þá kafla sögunnar sem snúast um Hallgerði. Bouman heldur því fram að hin endurteknu minni um hár Hallgerðar, brúðkaupin og kinnhest/hefnd í hjónaböndum hennar þremur endurspegli "epíska þrítekningu". Þessi þrítekning er byggingarlögmál sem Axel Olrik studdist við til að sýna að frásagnarefnið er stílfært til þess að kalla fram goðsagnaminni sem gefur þar með hinum endurteknu atriðum dýpri merkingu. Að lokum er útskýrt hvernig flókinn persónuleiki Hallgerðar er settur saman úr dráttum frá fornum hetjum þannig að úr verður ný goðsagnakennd vera.

See also

References

Chapter 77: muna þér kinnhestinn: “The epic threefold repetition, therefore, forms the substructure and it also governs the construction. Three times we find the hair-motif, three times a marriage, and finally Hallgerðr’s attitude and words cause each of the three men to strike her. Each time the blow is a defensive action, and it invariability causes revenge – though in different forms. The hair-motif finally leads to the dramatic climax in Hallgerðr’s behaviour.” (p. 7).

Chapter 88: hann fífldi hana: “[The author] of Njáls saga] lets Hallgerðr langbrók , the proud and beautiful chief’s daughter, end in the arms of a base scoundrel. It was in this light that the Icelanders saw her úgæfa, her being disinherited of happiness, which tormented her throughout her life – because it had been inflicted on her by Fate just as it had been on her great predecessors.” (p. 13).

Links

  • Written by: Barbora Davídková
  • Icelandic/English translation:
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