Durrenberger, E. Paul, 1943-. The Icelandic family sagas as totemic artefacts

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Publication Information


Title: The Icelandic family sagas as totemic artefacts

Published in: Social approaches to Viking studies, edited by Ross Samson

Published By: Social approaches to Viking studies, edited by Ross Samson Glasgow: Cruithne Press, 1991. 11-17 p.

By line: E. Paul Durrenberger

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2004. Computer File

Culture: Early Icelanders (EQ02)

Subjects: Theoretical orientation in research and its results (121); Comparative evidence (171); Verbal arts (5310); Ethnopsychology (828); Ethnosociology (829);

Abstract: This article is a structural analysis of the Icelandic sagas. The author suggests '...that the sagas are neither art nor history, but articulations of what Lévi-Strauss (1966) calls a 'totemic operator', an overarching classification system which organizes all experience into an integrated whole in terms of which one can locate anyone or anything relative to all other being, things, events, and forces. It defines nature, the human place in nature, and any person's place in the natural and human order. Its logic is one of classification and analogy' (p. 12).

Document Number: 6

Document ID: eq02-006

Document Type: Essay

Language: English

Note: For bibliographical references see document 5: [Sampson].

Field Date: no date

Evaluation: Ethnologist-4

Analyst: John Beierle ; 2002

Coverage Date: ninth-thirteenth centuries A.D.

Coverage Place: general Iceland

LCSH: Icelanders


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