Crocker, Christopher, To Dream is to Bury

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  • Author: Crocker, Christopher
  • Title: To Dream is to Bury: Dreaming of Death in Brennu-Njáls saga
  • Published in: The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 114/2
  • Place, Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Year: 2015
  • Pages: 261-291
  • E-text: Jstor
  • Reference: Crocker, Christopher. “To Dream is to Bury: Dreaming of Death in Brennu-Njáls saga”, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 114/2 (2015): 261-291.

  • Key words: literary elements, narrative technique, supernatural elements, psychology, bókmenntaleg einkenni, frásagnaraðferð, yfirnáttúrleg fyrirbæri, sálfræði


Contents

Annotation

The article deals with the function of dreams in narratives, highlights the strong connection existing between dreams and death in Njáls saga, and shows how the focus is put on the grieving people’s emotions. The author states that the main functions of dreams are revealing future events, pointing at the potential involvement of invisible forces in the plot, and stressing certain aspects of a character's psychology. The “uncanny” aspect of dreams is explained as coming from their relation to darkness and the unfamiliarity related to it, as well as from the fact that their meaning is usually proposed in a hesitant way. The main focus is on Flosi’s dream about Járngrímr and the burden these known, hence inevitable, deaths represent for him. In this context, Yngvildur’s dream is explained as serving to highlight this aspect of Flosi’s life, and Gilli jarl’s dream is seen as a ‘reminder’ of it as well.


Lýsing

Greinin fjallar um hlutverk drauma í frásögnum, beinir athygli að þeim sterku tengslum sem eru milli drauma og dauðsfalla í Njálu og sýnir hvernig athygli er þannig beint að tilfinningum þeirra sem syrgja. Crocker segir að meginhlutverk drauma sé að segja fyrir um óorðna hluti, vekja athygli á leyndum öflum sem kunna að stýra atburðarásinni og leggja áherslu á tiltekna þætti í tilfinningalífi persóna. Hann skýrir hina „óhugnanlegu“ hlið drauma með hliðsjón af tengslum þeirra við myrkrið og ókunnugleikann sem fylgir því, en einnig með vísan til þess að fólk er yfirleitt hikandi við túlkun þeirra. Megináherslan er lögð á draum Flosa og þá byrði, sem vitneskjan um óhjákvæmilegan dauða mannanna sem þar birtast, er honum. Draumur Yngvildar verður í þessu samhengi til þess að leggja áherslu á þennan þátt í lífi Flosa og draumur Gilla jarls er einnig áminning um hann.

See also

References

Chapter 133: hugboð mitt: “Ketill’s interpretation of the dream proves prescient as each man that Járngrímr has called will in due course fall to his death. More than simply providing an itinerary for forthcoming event, however, Flosi’s dream paints the latter part of the saga in a powerful shade of eventuality and inescapability, at once informing his forestalling tactics but also continually undermining their utility” (pp. 270-271).

Chapter 159: aldrei spurst síðan: “This seems the apposite ending for a character that was never predestined to die as such but was rather obliged to suffer the deaths of all those around him, all for an act that was regretful from the very first, and was compelled to carry the foreknowledge of their deaths through the periodic and protracted revenge sequence” (pp. 289-290).

Links

  • Written by: Barbora Davídková
  • Icelandic translation: Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir
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