De Looze, Laurence. The Concept of the Self in Egil’s Saga

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  • Author: De Looze, Laurence
  • Title: The Concept of the Self in Egil's Saga: A Ricoeurean Approach
  • Published in: Egil, The Viking Poet: New Approaches to 'Egil's Saga'
  • Editors: De Looze, Laurence. Jón Karl Helgason. Poole, Russell. Torfi H. Tulinius
  • Place, Publisher: Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Year: 2015
  • Pages: 57-74
  • E-text:
  • Reference: De Looze, Laurence. "The Concept of the Self in Egil's Saga: A Ricoeurean Approach." Egil, The Viking Poet: New Approaches to 'Egil's Saga' , pp. 57-74. Eds. Laurence De Looze, Jón Karl Helgason, Russell Poole, Torfi H. Tulinius. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

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Contents

Annotation

De Looze uses Jean-Pierre Vernant's definition of the individual in heroic cultures and epics and Paul Ricœur's theory on the self in narratives in order to show how Egill's identity is articulated within the saga, and more generally in the context of the skald-sagas corpus. Ricœur's defines the self as ipse (the core-being, what one is) and idem (the reiteration, what one acts like): within the overall concordance of the narrative, discordant events challenge the characters' core definition. Because of the heroic ethos that they embody, the characters of the íslendingasögur are at first glance immutable, and rigidly re-affirm their initial definition in front of discordant events that are seen as trials and potential perturbations to their value and their unity as selves. However, as a poet, Egill uses enunciation to have an agency on his idemité. His poetry has the function of a speech-act by which he shapes his own identity. Thus, altough he may be more ambiguous and unpredictable than the majority of íslendingasögur characters, he autonomously displays and enacts a consistent and particularly enduring personality.

Lýsing

Í grein sinni fjallar Laurence De Looze um hvernig persóna Egils er sett fram í gegnum frásögn Eglu, auk þess að fjalla um hann í sambandi við skáldasögur. Í greininni styðst De Looze annars vegar við skilgreiningu Jean-Pierres Vernant á einstaklingnum innan sagnaskáldskapar og hetjusamfélagsins, og hins vegar við kenningu Pauls Ricœur um sjálfsveru innan frásagnarinnar. Ricœur skiptir sjálfinu í tvo hluta ipse og idem, sá fyrrnefndi er kjarni hvers einstaklings, það sem þú ert en hið síðarnefnda er endurtekningin eða hvernig þú hagar þér. Hann segir að í hverri frásögn sé að finna atburði sem storka sýn persóna á sinn eigin kjarna. De Looze heldur því fram að vegna hetjulegs tíðaranda virðast persónur Íslendingasagnanna við fyrstu sýn ávalt bregðast við ólíkum aðstæðum á sama hátt sem gerir það að verkum að þær virðast eintóna í sjálfsmynd sinni. Sem skáld notar Egill hins vegar framsögn sem atbeini á sitt idem, kveðskapur hans virkar sem málgjörð sem hann notar til að móta sína eigin sjálfsmynd. Þó svo að hann sé óræðari og óútreiknanlegri en flestar aðrar persónur Íslendingasagnanna sýnir hann á sjálfstæðan máta að hann hefur staðfastan og varanlegan persónuleika.

See also

References

Chapter 31: öðrum ungmennum: "This introduction establishes the traits that will characterize the two men for the duration of the narrative. In Ricœurean terms, these introductions mark and almost complete overlapping of ipse and idem since one of the goals of the Sagas of the Icelanders is to show that there is no gap between the heroe's ipse and their idem." (p. 62).

Chapter 63: ósakaður: "The unexpectedness of Egil's saving of his "head" when by rights he should lose it goes against the normal pattern of the sagas... Only such an extraordinary "self" as Egil could impose language so effectively on events that, against all reasonable expectation, the escalating violence does not result in death." (p. 68).

Chapter 89: meðan svörður og hold fylgdi: "Egil's almost indestructible cranium is, of course, a humorous return to the Hǫfuðlausn... The "head-ransom" is one of the many instances of mêmeté in which the dispositions of Egil's character - his daring, his audacity, his agonistic stance - are reiterated. But the enduring, indestructible quality of the skull - the locus of speech - long after Egil is dead suggests that it is also an expression of Egil's core being, which is to say of his ipséité." (p. 70-71).

Links

  • Written by: Ermenegilda Müller
  • Icelandic translation: Andri M. Kristjánsson
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