Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Nordische Philologie 2021.10

Dis­course in Old Norse lit­er­a­ture
BuchcoverAn exam­i­na­tion of what dia­logues and direct speech in Old Norse lit­er­a­ture can con­vey and mean, beyond their imme­di­ate face-val­ue.
The vast and diverse cor­pus of Old Norse lit­er­a­ture pre­serves the lan­guage spo­ken not only by the Vikings, kings, and heroes of medieval Scan­di­navia but also by out­laws, mis­sion­ar­ies, and farm­ers. Schol­ars have long rec­og­nized that the wealth of ver­bal exchanges in Old Norse sagas presents the mod­ern read­er with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak face-to-face, as it were, with these great voic­es of the past. How­ev­er, despite the impor­tance of ver­bal exchanges in the sagas, there has been no book-length study of dis­course in Old Norse lit­er­a­ture since 1935.
This book meets the need for such a study by offer­ing a lit­er­ary analy­sis based on the adja­cent field of prag­mat­ic lin­guis­tics, which rec­og­nizes that speak­ers often rely upon cul­tur­al, sit­u­a­tion­al, and inter­per­son­al con­text to com­mu­ni­cate their mean­ing. The result­ing, con­text-depen­dent mean­ing often devi­ates from the base seman­tic and syn­tac­ti­cal com­po­nents of an utter­ance: speak­ers hedge, imply, deflect to save face, or obscure mean­ing to dam­age an opponent’s self-worth. Saga writ­ers, this book argues, were mas­ters of this type of indi­rect­ness in speech. It aims there­fore to unlock the depth and sub­tle­ty of dis­course in Old Norse lit­er­a­ture and to leave read­ers with an under­stand­ing of how prin­ci­ples of prag­mat­ics were employed through­out the sagas. A wide body of Old Norse mate­ri­als is exam­ined, includ­ing some of the best exam­ples of Íslendin­gasögur (sagas of Ice­landers), such as Bren­nu-Njáls saga, Laxdœla saga, and Gís­la saga Súrssonar, while also giv­ing due atten­tion to Konun­gasögur (kings‘ sagas), for­nal­darsögur (leg­endary sagas), and oth­er lit­er­a­ture from the medieval North.
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Mater­nal aban­don­ment and queer resis­tance in twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry Swedish lit­er­a­ture
BuchcoverThis book ques­tions why so many moth­ers leave their fam­i­lies in twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry Swedish lit­er­a­ture, ana­lyz­ing lit­er­ary rep­re­sen­ta­tions of mater­nal aban­don­ment in rela­tion to sociopo­lit­i­cal dis­cours­es. The vol­ume draws on a queer-the­o­ret­i­cal frame­work in order to high­light norm-crit­i­cal dimen­sions, fail­ure, and resis­tance in lit­er­a­ture about moth­er­hood. Jen­ny Björk­lund argues that nov­els about moth­ers who leave can be under­stood as ways to prob­lema­tize and chal­lenge Swedish-brand­ed val­ues like gen­der equal­i­ty and a pro­gres­sive fam­i­ly pol­i­tics that pro­motes ideals of involved par­ent­hood, the nuclear fam­i­ly, and prona­tal­ism. The book also rais­es ques­tions beyond the Swedish con­text about mater­nal ambiva­lence, fam­i­ly pol­i­tics, and priv­i­lege and dis­cuss­es how lit­er­a­ture can work as resis­tance and pro­vide alter­na­tives to the cur­rent social order.
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