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ThesisUniversity of Iceland>Hugvísindasvið>Meistaraprófsritgerðir>

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/3031


The Performative Man. Níð and Gender in a Skald Saga


This thesis is intended to address the matter of manliness and its challenge in a poet’s saga. The issue has been associated with two concepts, níð and ergi. In Old Norse literature, níð is an insult directed against an individual’s reputation often implying sexual deviance. In the last century, three Swedish scholars discussed níð from a historical view of point. I intend to consider these offences as literary phenomena. The same scholars set themselves the aim of defining níð exactly which proved to be difficult. Instead of pursuing a formal definition I intend to focus on the dramatic function of insults in sagas and approach níð as a ritual demonstration of manliness. I make use of performance theory, with emphasis on Judith Butler’s idea of gender construction.
In the second part of the thesis I discuss one of the poets’ sagas, Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa focusing on poetic rivalry, conflict development and the masculine gender identity presented in the text.

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