The Old Lady and Old Beardless: Gender, Emotion, and Legitimate Violence in Njal's Saga

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ryan Ridpath (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Richard Barton

Abstract: 2017 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winner---The purpose of this research paper is to analyze the confluence of the concepts of gendered language, emotional display, and legitimate attributions of violence as they interacted during feud in Njal's Saga. This Icelandic saga tells the tale of two feuding families, led by the warrior Gunnar and the lawyer Njal. Interestingly enough, much of the feud is not perpetrated by them, but primarily by their family members, with specific attention being paid to their wives. Much has been written about how these concepts interacted in medieval Iceland, but few articles exist where the body of the work has been analyzed and where the evidence is so abundant. By analyzing scenes that had a large impact on the feud, the argument is made that the displays of emotions and performance of gender informed the sort of violence perpetrated and whether or not it was seen as legitimate.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
medieval, Iceland, saga, feud, gender, violence, emotion, legitimacy

Email this document to