Clover, Carol. "The Same Thing-Sort Of"

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  • Author: Clover, Carol
  • Title: "The Same Thing-Sort Of"
  • Published in: Representations 100
  • Year: 2007
  • Pages: 4-0_4
  • E-text: ProQuest
  • Reference: Clover, Carol. "The Same Thing-Sort Of." Representations 100 (Fall 2007): 4-0_4.

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In this article, Clover compares the character of trials and legal proceedings in American genre cinema to that in saga literature. She is interested in the way adversarial (as opposed to inquisitorial) legal processes are a consistent source of narrative entertainment in both, particularly the gift-exchange and getting-even elements of adversarial trials. She also points to the fact that trials in sagas and American genre films tend to share a similar formalistic system of reasoning, drawing parallels between a trial in Njáls saga and a scene from the American crime procedural drama Law & Order. This logical template is shown to then permeate many aspects of the respective cultures outside of the legal realm, from political discourse to popular culture and everyday life. Furthermore, the commonalities between the sagas and American genre films in this regard serves to differentiate the two traditions from those of their contemporaries – Icelandic from other medieval and American from European and art house cinema.


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See also


Chapter 8: Eg skal þér Mörður vera : “This is a world in which even children can be figured as playing a game, not of cops and robbers, not tag, not house, not doctor, but lawsuit. In Njáls saga, that most supremely legal of medieval texts, we see one kid say to another, ‚I'll be Mord [the plaintiff's lawyer] and divorce you from your wife.‘ To which a second kid replies, ‚Then I'll be Hrút [the defendant] and invalidate your dowry claim.” (p. 8)


  • Written by: Sarah Ganzel
  • Icelandic/English translation:
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