Representation of Emotions in Indigenous Icelandic Riddarasögur
Inna Matyushina and Peter John New

The article is devoted to analysing the representation of emotions in Old Norse chivalric sagas (riddarasögur). Unlike the characters of French romances, who express their feelings in highly expressive monologues, the heroes of Old Norse riddarasögur, are portrayed as seldom showing their emotions and acting only after careful consideration of the implications of their deeds. In riddarasögur, changes in the representation of expressions of feelings remain within the Old Norse tradition of family sagas and kings’ sagas; it can be accounted for by the influence of indigenous models of behaviour and by the desire to satisfy the expectations of a contemporary Scandinavian audience. The subgenre of indigenous riddarasögur, which appear in Iceland, the so-called meykongr sögur (maiden-king sagas), is characterized by an inversion of gender roles, influencing the expression of emotions. Feelings are verbalised by men, whereas the heroines of maiden-king sagas prefer to act, verbally and physically humiliating their suitors (in Nitida saga the representation of emotions is used to distinguish a real maiden-king from a false one). The way the emotions of the heroines are implied by their actions in maiden-king sagas can be traced back to indigenous Scandinavian literary traditions.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v8n1a1