Clover, Carol J. Hildigunnr’s lament

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  • Author: Clover, Carol J.
  • Title: Hildigunnr's Lament
  • Published in: Cold Counsel: Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology
  • Place, Publisher: New York, Routledge
  • Editors: Anderson, Sarah M., Swenson, Karen
  • Year: 2002
  • Pages: 15-54
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Clover, Carol J., Hildigunnr's Lament, in: Cold Counsel: Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology. A Collection of Essay, Edited by Sarah M. Anderson and Karen Swenson. Routledge. New York and London. 2002

  • Key words: motifs, intertextuality, gender studies, customs (sagnaminni, textatengsl, kynjafræði, siðir)


Contents

Annotation

Clover analyses the pivotal scene of chapter 116 of Njáls saga, in which Hildigunnr incites Flosi to avenge her dead husband Hoskuld and which results in the burning of Njáll and his family. Hildigunnr's incitement is compared to other Icelandic and Germanic literary figures, most notably Guðrún Gjúkadóttir in the poem Hamðismál and Thorbjörg of Harðar saga ok Hólmverja. In doing so Clover attempts to trace the role of women in mourning and vendetta cultures. Specific attention is paid to the role of ‘tokens’ as representations of the deceased, such as bloodied clothing, or weapons, and the methods by which grieving widows employ these tokens in ritualised settings. In addition, Clover examines the intersection between the performance of specific gestures related to mourning, such as weeping and the loosening of hair, and the language of the "hvöt" itself – that is as a performance of language both poetic and legalistic, as in Hildigunnr’s case.

Lýsing

Clover greinir hina mikilvægu senu í 116. kafla Njálu þar sem Hildigunnur hvetur Flosa til hefnda eftir Höskuld eiginmann hennar, en það leiðir að lokum til Njálsbrennu. Clover ber Hildigunni saman við aðrar persónur úr íslenskum og germönskum bókmenntum, einkum Guðrúnu Gjúkadóttur eins og hún birtist í Hamðismálum og Þorbjörgu í Harðar sögu og Hólmverja. Með þessu leitast Clover við að rekja hlutverk kvenna í hefndarsamfélögum þegar fallnir eru tregaðir. Hún gerir sérstaka grein fyrir hlutverki gripa ('tokens') sem standa með táknrænum hætti fyrir hinn dauða, til dæmis blóðug klæði eða vopn, og skoðar hvernig syrgjandi ekkjur nota slíka gripi í ritúölum. Auk þess kannar Clover sambandið milli þess að tjá trega með sérstökum hreyfingum eða gjörðum, til dæmis með gráti eða því að leysa hár úr böndum, og tjáningarinnar sem felst í hvötinni sjálfri, þar sem tungumálið þjónar bæði listrænu og lagalegu markmiði, eins og í tilfelli Hildigunnar.

See also

References

Chapter 116, p.291: "„Hvert eftirmæli skal eg af þér hafa,“ segir hún, „eða liðveislu?“ Her speech is somewhat unusual in its formal, almost legal quality and also in its religious reference, but in other respects – the charge of niðingr, the insistence on reciprocal obligation.


Links

  • Written by: Liz Skuthorpe
  • Icelandic translation: Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir
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