Oedipus Borealis: The Aberrant Body in Old Icelandic Myth and Saga
Oedipus borealis is a discussion of aberrance in the mythic and legendary hero as he appears in thirteenth-century Icelandic narratives, and in the quasi-historical figures in the saga literature who are modeled on him. The opening chapter on Greek myth presents Oedipus of Thebes as the paradigm of the aberrant hero, his sexual deviance linked in mythic logic with his foot anomaly, and, most importantly, with his greatness. of the Norse gods and their nemesis, the Giants, conform to a similar pattern of deviance, with physical disabilities (blindness, deafness, muteness) linked to supernatural power, and monstrosity to sexual vitality. In saga figures such as the skalds Egil Skalla grimsson, Kormak, or Thormod Kolbrunsskald, disability and deviant sexuality are linked to poetic skill. Figures as diverse as the revenant, the berserk, the outlaw Grettir, and St. Olaf show that the pattern is very widely disseminated in Old Icelandic. Illustrated. Lois Bragg is Professor of English at Gallaudet University.
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6ldf's Saga aberrance Achilles appears Asgard associated Asynja Bald-Grim behavior berserkr berserksgangr Bjorn brother Cain called chthonic crippled daughter Death of Baldur disability Drangey Edda eddic poem Egil Egil's Saga Eirik episode Evening-Ulf father feet Fenrir figure Gefjun Giant Giantland Gjallarhorn gods Greek Grettir Gudmund Gunnhild Gunnlaug Gylfaginning Harald Fairhair heathen Heimdall Heimskringla Helga Hephaestus hero horn household Hrafn Hroerek Icelandic Illugi Ingimund intergenerational transgression jEsir killed King Olaf Kormak Laius lame Lamech Loki Loki's male Marked Foot married medieval Midgard Snake Mimir mother motif cluster myth mythic mythology narrative Njord normative Norse Norway Norwegian Odin Odin's Oedipus Ogmund one-eyed Ongul Onund passage play readers role saga world Sami seems sexual ship skaldic skalds smith Snorri social Sophocles Starkad Steingerd story sword Thebes Thjalfi Thor Thorarin Thord Thorgeir Thormod Thorolf Thorstein tion tradition ugly verse Vidar warrior wife woman women word