Linke, Uli. The theft of blood, the birth of men: cultural constructions of gender in medieval Iceland

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Title: The theft of blood, the birth of men: cultural constructions of gender in medieval Iceland

Published in: From sagas to society : comparative approaches to early Iceland, edited by Gísli Pálsson

Published By: From sagas to society : comparative approaches to early Iceland, edited by Gísli Pálsson Enfield Lock, Middlesex, UK: Hisarlik Press, 1992. 265-288 p.

By line: Uli Linke

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

Culture: Early Icelanders (EQ02)

Subjects: Verbal arts (5310); Mythology (773); Spirits and gods (776); Sexuality (831); Reproduction (840);

Abstract: In this article Linke examines the cultural conceptions of gender in Icelandic mythology, as represented in the Edda -- a thirteenth century collection of mythological, heroic, and aphoristic poems in alliterative verse. The author then goes on to explore medieval ideas about manhood or maleness in relation to femaleness, with special emphasis on the underlying ideologies of reproduction. Further discussion is then centered on '...how Icelandic models of social order are embedded in mythological images of sex, birth, and creation', and how '...competing concepts of creative power (equated with chaos and order, good and evil) are expressed through mythic representaiton of female eroticism or motherhood and the antithetical images of male androgyny and male creativity' (p. 265). These concepts are frequently masked in the mythology and it is necessary to interpret narrative detail in these myths in order to reveal certain social themes in the society relevant to incest, murder, procreation and male sexual domination.

Document Number: 24

Document ID: eq02-024

Document Type: Essay

Language: English

Note: For bibliographical references see document 10: [Gísli Pálsson].

Field Date: no date

Evaluation: Ethnologist-4

Analyst: John Beierle ; 2002

Coverage Date: ninth-thirteenth centuries

Coverage Place: general Iceland

LCSH: Icelanders

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