Cold counsels and hot tempers : the development of the Germanic Amazon in Old Norse literature
Cold Counsels and Hot Tempers: The Development of the Germanic Amazon in Old Norse Literature will trace how the evolution of the powerful woman in literature shaped the development of female characters in the classical Icelandic family sagas and the Fornaldarsögur, or later sagas of ancient times. The thesis will focus on the conception and representation of the proverb “köld eru kvenna ráð” – cold are the counsels of women – specifically tracing the function of women in feud structures and folk motifs that involve assault and acts of revenge. In the early Germanic sources, women are direct participants in violence; they train themselves in warfare, take up weapons, begin feuds, avoid unwanted marriages and hold kingdoms through force of arms. In later Norse literature, women rely on verbal persuasion to force men into action; they use goading, seduction, and insult to engage men in violence. Cold Counsels and Hot Tempers will examine these changes in women’s roles and investigate the different methods women use to access power.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
Copyright DateNovember 2006