Langeslag, Paul. Tröll and Ethnicity in Egils saga

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  • Author: Langeslag, Paul
  • Title: Trǫll and Ethnicity in Egils saga
  • Published in: Á austrvega: Saga and East Scandinavia. Preprint Papers of the 14th International Saga Conference, Uppsala, 9th–15th August 2009. Vol. 2
  • Editors: Agneta Ney, Henrik Williams, and Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist
  • Series: Institutionen för humaniora och samhällsvetenskaps skriftserie 14
  • Place, Publisher: Gävle: Gävle UP
  • Year: 2009
  • Pages: 560-67
  • E-text:
  • Reference: Langeslag, Paul. "Trǫll and Ethnicity in Egils saga." Á austrvega: Saga and East Scandinavia. Preprint Papers of the 14th International Saga Conference, Uppsala, 9th–15th August 2009. Vol. 2, pp. 560-67. Eds. Agneta Ney, Henrik Williams, and Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist. Institutionen för humaniora och samhällsvetenskaps skriftserie 14. Gävle: Gävle UP, 2009.

  • Key words: literary elements, characterization (bókmenntaleg einkenni, persónulýsingar)


Contents

Annotation

One of the more conspicuous literary devices structurally employed throughout Egils saga resides in the depiction of the central family. Those of its members who receive focal attention are typically characterized as either dark, ugly, and unruly, or handsome, cheerful, and popular. However, a unifying characterization of the family may also be discerned, in which all of its members are tall, strong, and proud, an identity that wins the family a mixture of success and trouble. While these two aspects of the family, its division and its unity, have received some deal of individual attention, their interplay merits a study of its own: it is where the two meet that the compiler’s purpose may be most clearly discerned. This paper examines the author’s aims in the juxtaposition, proposing that it represents an attempt to explain differences within the family with reference to a mixed ethnicity, signaled by the association of the darker half with tröll. This divided ancestry enabled the compiler to draw on a heroic past while salvaging a proto-Christian heritage for the Mýramenn of his own age.

Lýsing

Meðal þeirra listbragða sem beitt er ítrekað í Egils sögu og móta byggingu hennar er lýsingin á karllegg söguhetjunnar. Þeim persónum sem fá þar mesta athygli er ýmist lýst sem dökkum, ljótum og illskeyttum eða myndarlegum, glaðlyndum og vinsælum. Það er hins vegar annað einkenni sem sameinar þessa karlmenn; allir eru þeir hávaxnir, sterkir og stoltir, sem getur bæði reynst þeim vel og illa. Þau einkenni sem sameina og sundra karllegg fjölskyldunnar hafa verið nokkuð til umræðu meðal fræðimanna en samspili þeirra hefur ekki verið gefinn nægur gaumur, að mati Langeslags; það er á þessum krossgötum sem höfundarætlunin í Eglu kemur skýrast í ljós. Í greininni er rætt um hvers vegna höfundur vinnur með nefndar andstæður og sett fram sú tilgáta hann hafi viljað draga upp mynd af fjölskyldu með sundurleitan uppruna, sem birtist skýrt í þeim tengslum Egils, Skallagríms og Kveldúlfs við tröll. Þetta tvískipta ætterni gerði höfundi kleift að vinna úr hetjulegri fortíð Mýramanna án þess að forsmá forkristilega sögu þeirra í samtímanum.

See also

References

q/m

Links

  • Written by: Paul Langeslag
  • Icelandic translation: Jón Karl Helgason
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