Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World

Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World

by Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir

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Overview

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 CUNDILL HISTORY PRIZE

Valkyries: the female supernatural beings that choose who dies and who lives on the battlefield. They protect some, but guide spears, arrows and sword blades into the bodies of others. Viking myths about valkyries attempt to elevate the banality of war – to make the pain and suffering, the lost limbs and deformities, the piles of lifeless bodies of young men, glorious and worthwhile. Rather than their death being futile, it is their destiny and good fortune, determined by divine beings. The women in these stories take full part in the power struggles and upheavals in their communities, for better or worse.

Drawing on the latest historical and archaeological evidence, Valkyrie introduces readers to the dramatic and fascinating texts recorded in medieval Iceland, a culture able to imagine women in all kinds of roles carrying power, not just in this world, but pulling the strings in the other-world, too. In the process, this fascinating book uncovers the reality behind the myths and legends to reveal the dynamic, diverse lives of Viking women.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781788314770
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 04/02/2020
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 200,236
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir currently works at the National Library of Norway in Oslo, Norway. She has taught at Yale University, USA, and held research posts at Harvard University, USA, and in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her research focusses on Vikings, Old Norse-Icelandic sagas, mythology and poetry, medieval manuscripts and gender.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations vii

Acknowledgements x

Language and pronunciation xiii

Introduction: 'Valkyries decide who dies or lives' 1

1 Infancy and childhood 19

2 Teenage girls 37

3 Adulthood, married life and divorce 73

4 Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood 117

5 Widows 145

6 Old age and death 169

Epilogue 197

Further reading 201

Notes 205

Bibliography 227

Index 243

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