Magic and Kingship in Medieval Iceland: The Construction of a Discourse of Political Resistance (Hardcover)

Magic and Kingship in Medieval Iceland: The Construction of a Discourse of Political Resistance By Nicolas Meylan Cover Image
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Description


This volume examines the performative and ideological functions of texts dealing with magic in contexts of social and political conflict. While the rites, representations, and agents of medieval Scandinavian magic have been the object of numerous studies, little attention has been given to magic as a discourse. As a consequence, Old Norse sources mobilizing magic have been analysed mainly as evidence for a stable extra-textual phenomenon. This volume breaks with this perspective.The book focuses on the use of discourses of magic in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Icelandic texts concerned with kingship. It is argued that Icelanders constructed magic as a discursive answer to the increasingly pressing question of how to deal with the reality of their subordination to kings. This they did by telling stories of flattering Icelandic successes over kings brought about by magic in a bid to challenge dominant definitions and the social and political status quo. The book thus follows the conditions of emergence that made these subversive discourses of magic meaningful; it describes the various forms they were given, the various constraints weighing upon their use, and the particular political goals they served.
Product Details
ISBN: 9782503551579
ISBN-10: 2503551572
Publisher: Brepols Publishers
Publication Date: July 22nd, 2014
Pages: 233
Language: English
Series: Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia